Delivery alert

There may be an issue with the delivery of your newspaper. This alert will expire at NaN. Click here for more info.

Recover password

A UNMH tower, gold-star IDs and SE Heights lights


Sandra F. Penn emails, “I am in the North Campus Community. We are watching a lot of UNMH construction but there has been no communication to us of what is being built and what streets are being changed. Is it possible that the Journal might do a story on the hospital’s current grand plan? It would be greatly appreciated.”

Mark Rudi at University of New Mexico Health Sciences has the scoop.

“We are very excited about this project, which will help us continue to provide high quality care to New Mexicans,” he says, “The University of New Mexico Hospital Tower is an important and necessary initiative that will add much-needed capacity. The new tower will add 96 intensive care inpatient beds, 18 operating rooms and a new adult emergency department. Construction of the tower is scheduled to begin in June and is scheduled to be completed by fall of 2024.

“Also as part of the project will be a new 1,400 space parking structure, which will be about three times larger than the current parking garage,” Rudi says. “The project is currently in Phase II, which is construction of the new parking structure. That is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2022.”

Ongoing road closures during construction include Yale between Lomas and Camino de Salud and the outer westbound lane on Lomas between the UNMH ER entrance and Yale. More details on the traffic impacts are at

GOLD STAR = REAL ID: After last week’s column explained the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has extended the deadline to get a Real ID to May 2023 (it was this October) because of the pandemic, several readers have asked how to tell if you already have one.

Stuart emails, “My driver’s license was issued 07/03/2017 and expires 07/03/2025. It has a white star in a yellow circle on the upper right corner under the words Driver’s License. Does that mean that I have a Real ID?”

Yes, the star in the gold circle in the top right corner of your license means it is Real ID compliant, thus as good as a passport for boarding a commercial flight when the rules do go into effect.

APPOINTMENTS STILL REQUIRED: Steven also called to ask how to tell if his current license is compliant and for a reminder on how to get transactions done with MVD as we are still under the governor’s emergency orders.

MVD is still doing the majority of its transactions online; it also does vehicle registration renewals at kiosks in the Albertsons grocery stores on Juan Tabo and on Montgomery; and in-person appointments can be scheduled at Click on the red box where it says “expanded appointment types are now available through MVD Direct Appointments.” You will get an explanation of COVID-safe procedures, a list of available transactions, and when you click on “Make an Appointment” you will be able to select your transaction, office, date and time.

MORE LIGHTS ON INTERNATIONAL DISTRICT: On Friday, the city announced $2.1 million in new streetlights in Southeast Albuquerque to make the streets more walkable and safer.

Energy company Dalkia and the Department of Municipal Development are installing the 150 lights, a combination of solar and direct power and paid for via the city’s one-fourth-cent transportation tax. Trumbull Village will get 54 street lights (31 solar/23 direct). La Mesa will get 43 (37 solar/six direct). South San Pedro will get 14 (12 solar/two direct). And Elder Homestead will get 39 (20 solar/19 direct).

And unlike some city lighting projects that have been the target of thieves, these should have some staying power. DMD’s Johnny Chandler says the “new poles will be outfitted with aluminum to deter theft. We have been replacing stolen copper lines with aluminum for a few years now.”

Editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the metro area on Mondays. Reach her at 823-3858;; or 7777 Jefferson NE, Albuquerque, NM 87109.


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a story about how coronavirus has affected you, your family or your business? Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? What issues related to the topic would you like to see covered? Or do you have a bright spot you want to share in these troubling times?
   We want to hear from you. Please email or Contact the writer.