ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – More development and more people. An area of Albuquerque is growing big time and the city thinks in a few years traffic on one of the busiest west side roads will be a nightmare. That’s why city planners are proposing a fix and it includes re-working some major intersections.
According to population projections the metro is set to grow by 300,000 people by 2035 and without a grid system like the northeast, that means major congestion on the west side.
Thirty years ago, the city came up with a plan for one of the west side’s major roadways, Coors Boulevard But a lot has changed in 30 years and based on projections, the metro area is set to grow by 300,000 people.
Yet, it’s the congestion study that caught the eye of city officials, especially at bridge crossings.
“It could take up to 45 minutes to get across some of the bridges and that’s not total travel time, that’s just to get across the bridges,” explains Albuquerque Planning Manager for Urban Design and Development Division, Russell Brito.
Yet, according to Brito, just widening the lanes isn’t going to cut it. He says it would be too expensive and they’d have to take land away from property owners. Plus, it wouldn’t help congestion that much.
It’s why planning officials are proposing mixed modal transportation, accommodating pedestrians, bicyclists, drivers and buses. Specifically, a Bus Rapid Transit.
“That’s essentially like our rapid ride that we have in the city but it’s in a dedicated lane so, if there is a traffic snarl, the buses can still get through,” says Brito.
But what about commuter traffic?
Planning has a couple of ideas there, too, starting with extending an elevated roadway from Interstate 40 all the way to St. Josephs. It’s already elevated to Quail but, officials say during peak traffic times, cars are still backed up on the interstate.
Another proposal helps to alleviate congestion at Paseo del Norte and Coors, a flyover ramp for southbound traffic wanting to go east on Paseo would go up and over the interchange, avoiding a signal at the intersection.
Then, there’s Coors and Montaño. City planners want to see a diamond intersection there. A continuous roadway there would improve traffic flow and meets the city’s long-term goals for the intersection.
Through all of this, city planners want to maintain those west side views of the Sandia’s, making certain areas designated viewpoints.
These are just proposals. Since Coors is a state road, they will have the final say as to whether these road plans are put into place.
The plan is set to go in front of the Environmental Planning Commission on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. at the Plaza Del Sol building.
In order to weigh in on the proposal, you must get your emails, faxes or letters to the EPC before 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 3rd.
For more details on the proposed updates visit the City of Albuquerque website.