Businesses wary of upcoming Paseo Project closure

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – More Paseo, I-25 Project closures are in store for commuters and business owners.Some say they have already seen fewer customers because of the project. Now, they worry this upcoming closure could be an even bigger blow.

A couple who own a business on Jefferson said the closures have hurt. With more closures on the way, the two fear folks might avoid their area altogether.

It was Thursday when Daniela and Maxime Bouneou received an email regarding a new closure for the Paseo, I-25 Project, an email with potentially drastic consequences.

“That scared us a little bit, I have to be honest with you,” said Maxime Bouneou.

The Bouneou’s own an Italian restaurant in the market place at Journal Center off Jefferson. That email alerted the couple to a month-long closure from westbound Paseo to Jefferson.

“It was never a question of closing those exits for a whole month. They always said they would do that after-hours,” Maxime explained.

The news caught the couple off guard, especially after a blow to business – down 60-percent one Saturday. Maxime Bouneou blames on recent Paseo-related closures.

“I think people are not coming because they’re scared that it’s going to be a mess,” he said.

Now, the couple worries customers might avoid the area altogether.

Daniela answers the phone and hears people’s frustration first hand.

“I can hear people are mad and ask for directions, it’s messy, I don’t want to go around. Some people hang up or some people tell me, ‘oh, I’m not going down there. There is too much going on.'” she said.

Yet, the Bouneou’s aren’t the only ones worried at Torino’s at Home.

Employee Yvonne Sanchez said she takes westbound Paseo to Jefferson every day to get to work.

“I’ll have to find an alternate route and I don’t know all the streets around here very well … It makes it hard because then, if I’m late for work, I open the restaurant and so, if I’m not here on time, it puts us behind,” Sanchez said.

While the Bouneous say they support the Paseo improvements, they said they’ll be glad when the job’s done.

According to that first email, the closure was set to start Tuesday but, an email the Bouneou’s received Saturday indicates it’s been postponed. DOT reps say they’ll have more information Tuesday.

The first email also details alternate routes. Once access from westbound Paseo Del Norte is closed, those traveling from the northeast heights who usually use Paseo Del Norte to access Jefferson will need to use one of the following alternative routes:

  1. Alameda to Jefferson
  2. Paseo Del Norte to San Pedro, south on San Pedro to San Antonio, west on San Antonio to Jefferson
  3. Paseo Del Norte to 2nd Street, 2nd Street south to Osuna, Osuna east to Jefferson

These routes may already be congested, so the DOT encourages everyone to give themselves 15-30 minutes extra to reach their destination for the first few days of the new alignment.

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