RIO RANCHO, N.M. — DON’T WAIT TO DRIVE THE NEW I-25/PASEO: While the schedule has work on the $93 million interchange rebuild beginning this fall and lasting through fall of 2015, a simulator at www.paseoi25.com already allows drivers to check out the interchange after the $93 million rebuild in these directions:
♦ Northbound Interstate 25 to westbound Paseo del Norte.
♦ Eastbound Paseo del Norte to southbound I-25.
♦ Northbound I-25 slip ramp to the frontage road to westbound Paseo del Norte to southbound Jefferson.
♦ Northbound Jefferson to eastbound Paseo del Norte to southbound I-25.
Most striking to commuters will likely be how Paseo goes over Jefferson — like it does Second — and how drivers exiting northbound I-25 to go west on Paseo won’t hit a signal until Eagle Ranch and those driving eastbound Paseo to southbound I-25 won’t hit a signal at all.
And that vehicles do merge and don’t speed.
Phil Gallegos, who handles information for the New Mexico Department of Transportation’s District 3 office, says the project recently passed two important milestones on the way to construction — federal approval of its Categorical Exclusion and its Interstate Access Change Request. The Categorical Exclusion is “because it will not have a significant impact on planned growth or land use for the area; does not require the relocation of significant numbers of people; does not have a significant impact on any natural, cultural, recreational, historic or other resource; and does not involve significant air, noise or water quality impacts. The Interstate Access Change Request is required … because the project involves modifications to I-25 including construction of a new on-ramp at I-25 and San Mateo, removal of an on-ramp at I-25 and San Antonio, reconstruction of the at-grade intersection at Paseo del Norte and Jefferson as a single-point urban interchange and construction of additional capacity (i.e. lanes) on I-25.”
The next step is for the state to come up with a list of three potential design-build teams prior to selecting one.
ALAMEDA GETTING WIDER: The yearlong, $5.4 million project began with the month of May and will add a lane in each direction with a median between San Pedro and Louisiana. Both of those intersections will be widened as well, and San Pedro will get a signal in place of the four-way stop.
A news release from the city of Albuquerque says work is being done in anticipation of more traffic when the state starts rebuilding I-25/Paseo. The first two of the six Alameda phases are scheduled to be complete before the interchange work begins.
♦ I-25 to San Pedro, including traffic signal installation.
♦ Storm drain and Alameda widening between San Pedro and Louisiana.
♦ Intersection improvements at Louisiana and Alameda.
♦ Intersection improvements at Louisiana and Oakland.
♦ Intersection improvements at Louisiana and Signal.
♦ Intersection improvements at Alameda and Wyoming.
The work is being funded with general-obligation bonds, one-quarter cent infrastructure taxes and impact fees.
WHY IS MARQUETTE TAKING SO LONG? A “resident of the neighborhood” emails that “back in early to middle March there was a water main leak on Marquette just west of Turner. It has taken over six weeks for this road to be opened again. There were many days that no work whatsoever was done and the detour signs are still up.
“WHY does this take so long and why aren’t they working on it every day once they get started? Is this some sort of boondoggle for TLC or the city?”
David Morris, public affairs manager for the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority, got the lowdown on the delays from principal engineer Nancy Musinski:
“This is a lengthy job because it involved 600 feet of 16-inch concrete cylinder waterline with services, which (our contractor) TLC replaced with a 12-inch PVC. This type of work is time-consuming due to shut-offs, service transfers/connections, concrete work and asphalt paving. Adding time to the job were factors such as extensive pavement damage and the difficulty in working with large concrete water pipe.”
That said, “Marquette water-line replacement and re-paving is done, but TLC still needs to do some concrete work; that’s why barricades are up. The concrete must be allowed to cure properly. If you have cars driving on fresh concrete you’ll just have cracked concrete, and then it needs to be redone.”
As for those periods when no crews have been present, Musinski says “there are many days where the barricades are up but no workers in evidence because TLC’s crews get called to other water line emergencies; also they don’t work weekends so their crews don’t burn out working overtime.”
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; firstname.lastname@example.org; P.O. Drawer J, Albuquerque, NM 87103; or go to ABQjournal.com/traffic to read previous columns and join in the conversation.