Improvements already in the works for newly re-done U.S. 550

BERNALILLO, N.M. (KRQE) – Major construction on U.S. Highway 550 in Bernalillo just wrapped up, but already, the Department of Transportation says it needs more work because the traffic problems are not going away.

Two thousand drivers use 550 every 60 minutes during peak afternoon rush hour traffic.

“It’s not too bad,” John Bisset, who travels 550 every days says, “In rush hour it gets pretty hectic.”

It’s congested, and the DOT knows that. That’s why they’re looking to more improvements not long after re-doing the I-25 interchange and a lot of 550 through Bernalillo.

“Sometimes it takes you 30 minutes just to get through this town just to get on the interstate,” Ryus Finch, who also travels 550 often, says.

The plan is called “Keep Moving 550” – it’s eyeing the stretch from Highway 313, over the river, to Highway 528.

“The whole goal of our project is to widen the corridor to provide additional lanes both north and southbound on 550,” Joseph Casares, with DOT, said.

The DOT is looking at “alternative options” to make the road better, meaning ways to keep the congestion to a minimum.

The traffic madness is something people who travel the road daily know all about.

“It’s just, you could sit, so it’s kind of like uh.. we need a second road,” Leslie Bennett said.

“We found that adding an additional lane will definitely help congestion and it’ll also help the whole community as well,” Casares said.

The plan is in Phase B and has a ways to go before the orange barrels go up again.

But DOT says the improvements need to happen, and that the current number of cars on 550 during rush hour is nearing max capacity.

“If it generally improves the area, you know, if it’s better for the long-haul, then it’s a good thing,” Bennett said.

The DOT plans also looks are improvements for sidewalks and better bicyclist accommodations.

A public meeting for public input is happening Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. at the New Mexico Workforce Center in Bernalillo.

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