ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Three years after it opened, the Paseo Del Norte interchange is finally done. Wednesday, the mayor showed off the last piece — the landscaping.
If you drive through Albuquerque, you’ll still see a lot of stretches that need a makeover, but it could take a while.
Landscaping the interstates has been a priority for the last couple of mayors, but there’s still a lot of work to do and not much money to do it.
Just landscaping at the Paseo interchange was almost $2.5 million.
“It’s a front door to our city as you come in from the north,” Mayor Richard J. Berry said.
The Paseo and I-25 interchange is fairly new. Just a few years ago, the state and city joined together to redo and reconstruct on and off ramps. That project came in under budget by almost $2.5 million.
So, the extra money was used to landscape 10 acres in the area. Wednesday, Mayor Berry announced the completion.
“Now we got a great landscape feature coming in from the north side of the city and then we save some additional money during this project that we can use for some additional projects in the area,” he said.
Once you pass Paseo on I-25, most of the interchanges don’t look as nice. Jefferson, Montano, Cesar Chavez, all the way past the Sunport are mostly dirt. The Rio Bravo interchange will be redone soon, but landscaping isn’t included in the state’s plan.
Drivers say they would like to see more landscaping at other interchanges to make Albuquerque more appealing.
“I think it’s a wonderful idea because I think it beautifies the intersection itself and puts a good image when people come to visit. They see a beautiful city opposed to dirt and rubbish,” Michael Harmon said.
Another driver said, “I think it should be low maintenance and water, but I think it looks much better than just plain dirt.”
The city hopes to have all the interchanges in Albuquerque landscaped over the next decade. However, money remains a big issue. The state has cut back on its funding and the city only has so much bond money it can use on landscaping.
The state has mentioned fixing up the old interchanges on I-25 from Montano to the Sunport, but the city doesn’t want to landscape something just to see it get torn out when the interchanges are eventually redone.