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ART construction pushed back to July

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Construction on Albuquerque Rapid Transit will be pushed back two months, until late July, to accommodate design changes sought by city councilors and the public.

The city is now planning, for example, to add another ART station in the International District, near San Pedro and Central Avenue. City Councilor Pat Davis, who requested the change, said it’s expected to cost about $400,000.

The city hasn’t determined how much the other changes will cost.

Joanie Griffin, a spokeswoman for the project, said the goal is still to finish construction by fall next year. Crews plan to consolidate construction into a 14-month period, she said, rather than 16 months.

The delayed start time will give the city time to adjust its plans to add the ART station near Central and San Pedro and address other changes suggested in public meetings.

Councilor Isaac Benton has pushed for narrowing some traffic lanes to generate more room for sidewalks and landscaping between the Rio Grande and Downtown.

The $119 million project won City Council approval last week. It would build a nine-mile network of bus-only lanes and bus stations in the middle of Central Avenue between Coors and Louisiana.

The city is still awaiting federal authorization to begin work. Federal funding is paying for most of the project, a form of “bus rapid transit.”

Griffin said a project liaison will meet with businesses along the corridor about 60 days before construction starts nearby.

The city already has warned businesses to expect construction to last up to two months, with work focusing on 2,000-foot sections at a time.

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“ART is a catalytic project that will reinvent Albuquerque’s urban corridor,” Mayor Richard Berry said in a news release. “We appreciate all the public comment we’ve received over the last five years, and we are working to accommodate many of those suggestions.”