ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – Taxpayer-funded construction at the city’s transfer stations is behind schedule, and people using the centers said it’s causing long wait times.
Robert Dimas said he sees a trend when he goes to the Montessa Convenience Center two to three times per week.
“When there’s a long line, sometimes I [have to] sit and wait,” Montessa said. “There’s a lot of down time.”
Dozens of drivers experienced that wait time last weekend at the busy Montessa Convenience Center that sees an average of 100 to 150 vehicles per Saturday or Sunday.
Cell phone video shows at least 15 stalls were blocked by cones as workers stood by watching drivers wait for one of four open stalls.
The Solid Waste Management Department said the stalls are blocked for structural work that was supposed to be finished in spring 2017.
“Yes, there will be a little bit of a delay and it will remain that way until the contractor has an opportunity to pour the tipping floor and the tipping floor is cured,” SWMD Director John Soladay said.
The tipping floor work is supposed to increase the center’s lifespan.
In fact, construction has been happening at all three convenience centers to help them withstand the estimated 65,000 tons of waste they take in every year.
“They’re all 25-plus years old,” Soladay said. “It’s time to reinvest and do some major repairs. Our intent is if we’re going to invest public funds in this, we want to make sure we get full value.”
The department is spending about $850,000 for the projects, which Soladay expects to be complete by October or November.
Of the three projects, the Don Reservoir construction is complete; Eagle Rock needs some landscaping work, and officials say Montessa is about halfway done with some landscaping work starting within the next week.
“The primary projects at both Eagle Rock and Montessa were structural in nature: Replacing the worn out tipping floor, doing some metal work on the push faces and the load out base,” Soladay said. “Eagle Rock got some retaining walls and some other things that were absolutely needed to facilitate smoother operation on the transfer side. Montessa’s work is a little more straight forward and basically just structural renovation.”
Soladay added the department plans to update the website and will try to get a more defined timeline for project completion.