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Drivers disappointed by two-lane Alameda after long closure

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THAT’S ALL THE ALAMEDA WE GET? That’s the theme of the reactions that have come in since the city re-opened Alameda east of Interstate 25.

Rich Rosley wants to know “who decided to close this road for such a long period especially during the Balloon Fiesta and the Paseo remodel only to reopen a one-lane road between Louisiana and San Pedro and why? I am appalled that we spent so much money for this project where we have two lanes of traffic in each direction east of Louisiana and west of San Pedro, but after this extended closure we only have one lane between Louisiana and San Pedro plus added storm drainage. We are now going to have future construction with added cost when they decide to widen this stretch of road, which is absurd! This should have been done right now with (such a) lengthy of a closure.”

CO emails “we have waited a long time for Alameda to be widened between Interstate 25 and Wyoming. Why, after six months of it being closed, is there only one lane again between San Pedro and Louisiana? It’s the same as it was before construction. What a waste of money, and they will eventually have to tear it up again to widen it.”

BG adds “after the long-anticipated widening of Alameda between San Pedro and Louisiana was completed, I was surprised to find the ‘widening’ only applied to the corridor. A median was created, but no new traffic lanes were added. What was the purpose of this project?”

Arthur Ahr points out that “after months of delay and the $5.4 million you told us about, Alameda looks nice, but nothing was done to improve the flow of traffic. Alameda between San Pedro and Louisiana is still a two-lane bottleneck.”

And lastly, John Farris says “They closed Alameda down for weeks and did all this work to make it a very nice two-lane road? It was already a two-lane road!”

In a word to all, yes.

Wilfred Gallegos, deputy director of the city’s Department of Municipal Development, says the yearlong Alameda project “began last summer with the construction of a signalized intersection at San Pedro and Alameda. These intersection upgrades improved an alternative to Paseo del Norte before the PdN/I-25 reconstruction project began.

“Further east, the project adds storm drainage improvements under the road, and constructed the two interior lanes of the ultimate configuration of Alameda between San Pedro and Louisiana. As explained in the developer ordinance, the adjacent property owners with development will build the remaining two lanes.”

That means developers, not taxpayers, foot the bill for the additional lanes when they break ground.

In the meantime, courtesy of the city and their tax dollars, drivers will get “a signalized intersection at Alameda and Louisiana, and intersection improvements to Louisiana at Oakland, Louisiana at Signal and Alameda at Wyoming. Currently the project is on schedule with a spring completion date.”

A LITTLE LIGHT ON THAT DARK PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE PROBLEM: Rich Rosley emails “we spent over $300,000 on the lighting of the new bridge over Interstate 25 north of Jefferson. I have noticed that over 25 percent of the lights are not working. Who is in charge of fixing this, and will it cost us, the taxpayers, any money, and when will it be fixed?”

According to Sherri Brueggemann, the city’s Public Art Urban Enhancement Program manager, “the Public Art program has been working with the local electrical contractor on the project to systematically remove the malfunctioning light fixtures. They are being shipped to the manufacturer in New York, who will be assessing the issues. At this time it is unknown why the lights are failing, but the manufacturer is working closely with the city to determine what is going on. They were working fine up until the massive rain storm hit the city in late July 2013. Since then they’ve been slowly failing in different ways, which makes it difficult to pinpoint the issue.”

As for who will foot the bill for the bike/foot bridge lights, “we do not know right this moment because the exact problem has not been identified.”

The blue lights – designed to be a celebration of water running through the Bear Canyon Arroyo in the Northeast Heights – were paid for with about $327,000 from the city’s “1 percent for Art” program.

Assistant editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the Metro area on Mondays and West Siders and Rio Ranchoans on Saturdays. Reach her at 823-3858; road@abqjournal.com; P.O. Drawer J, Albuquerque, NM 87103; or go to ABQjournal.com/traffic to read previous columns and join in the conversation.

 

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