ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – News 13 has learned landscaping is not part of the I-25/Paseo Del Norte project. It could take years to spruce up the interchange, and cost millions of dollars more.
Drivers along the interstates around Albuquerque have seen the city has made a serious effort to put in landscape along them to make the city more attractive. That won’t be the case around I-25 and Paseo for quite awhile.
After a year of construction, and $93 million, the Paseo Del Norte project is almost complete.
“It’ll be nice when it’s done,” said Rob Sorensen, and Albuquerque Resident who uses the route.
However, the fancy new flyover surrounded by dirt and mulch, will stay that way for a while.
“Typically projects that the state is involved in, the projects don’t include landscaping,” explained Melissa Dosher, spokesperson for the New Mexico Department of Transportation.
The city has definitely put in efforts to beautify areas along the interstates. Trees, watering systems, city officials say all contribute to the city’s impression.
“You know everyone wants their neighborhood to look nice,” said Sorensen. But plans for beautification don’t show up in the renderings around Paseo Del Norte.
“It just doesn’t look nice, I don’t know, all the dust everything blowing around,” said Veronica Gonzales.
“I think the landscaping surely makes it a lot nicer, so I think it ought to be a priority,” said Sorensen.
In fact, city officials said it’ll cost an extra $6 million to landscape after the Paseo project is done, and that they’ll make plans over the next few years.
It’s reminiscent of another major project. When the Big-I was finished more than a decade ago, the landscaping was scrapped due to a lack of money. The city later split a $10 million price tag with the state to spruce it up.
“I think it matters, it makes the city look better, and a nicer place to come,” said Gonzales.
But when that will happen near Paseo Del Norte, and who will foot the bill, hasn’t been decided.
“It’s usually municipalities that pay for it, but like I said something could be worked out in this situation possibly,” Dosher explained.
The mayor’s office will work with the state on the funding for landscaping around the Paseo interchange.
In a statement, Chief Operations Officer Michael Riordan said, “much like the Big I and Coors and I-40, we look forward to working with the state to identify the needed $6 million to landscape this area in the next few years.”
NMDOT officials said there will be grass growing around the interchange, so it won’t just be dirt for the next few years until the landscaping gets done.
“What they do in these projects is they mulch and seed using native seeds, grass, flowers, to control erosion,” said Dosher.
This weekend, I-25 is completely closed at Paseo Del Norte in both directions, and will be until Monday morning. Crews are building the pedestrian bridge over I-25 next to the Paseo bridge. It’s all part of the I-25/Paseo overhaul.
“If you can go around it, of course, that’s probably the preferable alternative but it should not be horrible,” explained Phil Gallegos, of the New Mexico Department of Transportation.
The year-old $93 million project with the fancy new flyover as the centerpiece, should be done just before Christmas.