ART traffic control, barricades costing Albuquerque $4.3M

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Albuquerque Rapid Transit project will cost $119 million and it should be up and running a year from now. And while people may hate the sight of all those orange barrels and detour signs, to one company they’re a gold mine.

Driving over the Rio Grande in downtown Albuquerque lately isn’t so serene.

ART Traffic Control Costs:

Phase One: $853,910

Phase Two: $996,360

Phase Three: $490,025

Phase Four: $1,108,385

Phase Five: $865,220

Grand Total: $4,313,900  

“Hectic, it’s just too, too much,” said Athena Morning-Star, a University of New Mexico student.

“It looks like it’s going to be good, but as of right now it looks pretty bad,” said Samir Gulmohammad.

“It’s obviously one of the biggest projects that the city of Albuquerque has done in a long time,” said Melissa Lozoya, Acting Director for the City of Albuquerque’s Department of Municipal Development.

ART is also one of the most expensive projects. The $119 million project is paving the way for a new transit system on Central Avenue from Unser all the way to Tramway.

The federal government will pay for most of that, but at least $13 million will come from the city.

KRQE News 13 went to the city’s Department of Municipal Development to break down some of the costs.

“The $119 {million} is the guaranteed maximum price that we negotiated with the contractor for the project, and it includes all aspects of the project,” Lozoya said.

But once the nearly nine-mile bus route is up and running, there’s one expensive part of the project that won’t be around for the grand opening.

Things like orange barrels, road closure signs, and barricades are costing the city of Albuquerque more than $4.3 million, and in the end, they’ll disappear.

The cost for traffic control in a construction zone also includes paying workers to move those barricades.

“We want to make sure that the public is safe,” said Lozoya.

And since the city doesn’t own the barricades or have the crews to manage them, ART contractor Bradbury Stamm is subcontracting traffic control to Southwest Safety.

“Whether it’s residential or business, the traffic control costs will vary, but for the most part they’re about five percent of the total project cost,” Lozoya told KRQE News 13.

Officials couldn’t tell KRQE News 13 how much the city of Albuquerque spends on traffic control for construction zones in a year.

However, Lozoya said the $4.3 million for the ART project is still more cost-effective than it would be for the city to buy, store, and maintain its own fleet of barricades and signs, as well as hire the workers to deploy them.

Lozoya said the cost for ART traffic control is money well spent.

“I would say so because it really does provide clear guidance to everyone that’s using the corridor during construction on where they should and shouldn’t be,” she added.

“It’s not like a tangible thing that we get to keep that we’re paying for in that aspect, but it’s part of the process, it keeps people safe, so I think it’s necessary,” said Mallory Wolff, who lives in Albuquerque.

Whether people ignore the $4.3 million traffic controls and barricades during construction is another story.

But by this time next year, that stretch of Central Avenue will take on a whole new look.

Read more about the ART project:

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