ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The countdown to the 43rd Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is on, and officials are giving visitors a heads up about a potential traffic problem.
In just two months, all eyes will be on the colorful hot air balloons soaring high overhead. As hundreds of thousands of people go to AIBF, traffic on the ground is always a problem.
The most recent Balloon Fiesta newsletter addresses the Paseo Del Norte/I-25 construction project and possible traffic woes.
“Traffic is always a concern,” said Tom Garrity, the director of media relations for AIBF. “We want to make sure our visitors are very much aware of what’s happening with the Paseo interchange because we have a lot of folks who just come in once a year to enjoy the balloons and we want to make sure they’re up to date.”
Several aspects of the project are supposed to be completed by Balloon Fiesta, including improvements between Alameda and Jefferson.
AIBF officials don’t expect construction will have major negative impacts on the event.
However, representatives with the New Mexico Department of Transportation say the active monsoon season has slowed construction some. They also say they recognize Balloon Fiesta’s economic impact on the state, and plan to have as much open during the festival as possible to allow for maximum traffic flow.
Major work on the Paseo/I-25 interchange started just a few days after last year’s Balloon Fiesta. According to the state DOT, the contractor still aims to have the project completed by December.