State prepares to revamp Highway 550 through Bernalillo

US 550 Overall Project Limits

BERNALILLO, N.M (KRQE) – It’s one of the busiest stretches of highway in the Albuquerque area, and also one of the most maddening. Now, the state is getting ready to re-do Highway 550 through Bernalillo to get traffic moving, and the Department of Transportation is looking for public input Wednesday evening.

“It’s just packed, the highway is just packed,” driver Cynthia Wing said.

Every day, people that live in Bernalillo and northern Rio Rancho deal with traffic on morning and evening commutes, and on weekends, too.

“Traffic’s very very heavy, it will take 20 minutes or a half hour to get across,” Rudy Maestas said.

Drivers said the frustration has gone on for years.

“We will avoid coming into Bernalillo just because of how bad the traffic is,” Keturah Apodaca said.

However, not everyone can avoid 550. Now the DOT is working to make improve the flow of traffic by adding a third lane in each direction. That means the DOT is also building a second bridge.

“I actually do think it will be beneficial,” Apodaca said.

Still, not everyone thinks it’s the best solution.

“A flyover would be excellent, but three lanes is really not gonna do it,” Wing said.

The project also includes bike lanes, sidewalks and intersection improvements, but the construction does concern many commuters.

“The construction will be a pain while it happens,” another driver said.

Some drivers said they think the DOT should go back to the drawing board altogether.

“All of the housing west of here for Rio Rancho, that’s all increasing. I think they need to think bigger,” Wing said.

Construction on the $13-million project starts in the fall and could last until the end of next year.

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