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Multi-agency regional traffic center planned

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Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller prepares to speak prior to the start of a news conference Friday announcing the start of the Regional Traffic Management Center project. (Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Representatives of the city, county and state on Friday announced the creation of a multi-agency, state-of-the-art Regional Traffic Management Center, or RTMC, that will better manage traffic congestion and closures as a result of accidents, weather or construction.

“Our plan is to create a new regional traffic management center that bridges the largest transportation and law enforcement agencies in New Mexico, brings them into one room, and also to streamline emergency responses,” said Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller. “Now, we have four different command centers in place for different agencies. These are going to move and be centralized out of this building.”

The building in question is the former U.S. Armed Forces Reserve Center, 400 Wyoming NE. The preliminary cost of purchasing and renovating the building was put at about $11 million, according to a document posted to the Mid-Region Council of Government website in 2011, when the project was first proposed.

The project is now expected to open for bids later this summer. Construction could begin in early fall of 2019 with completion 18 months later, “if everything goes as planned,” said Johnny Chandler, public information coordinator with the Albuquerque Department of Municipal Development.

The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office will have its traffic and DWI units housed in the new RTMC building, and the county’s Traffic Operations Group, which maintains and services all traffic signals in the unincorporated areas of the county outside the city limits, will also be housed there, said County Commissioner Steven Michael Quezada.

Ken Murphy, District 3 engineer for the New Mexico Department of Transportation, said the RTMC “will allow agencies to acquire and share information, services and resources across jurisdictional boundaries for safer responses and faster clearances.”

He said it will also improve traffic queues, improve safety for responders and motorists, reduce the likelihood of second accidents and allow for the timely and accurate public dissemination of information about traffic incidents and conditions.

Video images from city, county, state and DOT cameras will allow better management of traffic corridors and more efficient alternative routing, Murphy said.

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