Drivers brace for Paseo interchange project

Posted at: 02/11/2013 8:37 PM
By: Jill Galus, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Hundreds of crashes, congestion and traffic jams are all headaches that the Paseo del Norte/I-25 interchange project is supposed to alleviate.  It has been talked about for years but is now one step closer to breaking ground.

Whether driving east or west bound on Paseo toward I-25, most have come to expect the bumper to bumper traffic and the dreaded commute.

"People who live in this area are sick and tired of all the traffic they have to put up with in mornings and evenings too," Sam Martinez, who is anxious for construction to begin, said.

"To get on the freeway it's just ridiculous, a line goes almost all the way to the light," Zach Guilds, who tries to find alternate routes to work, said.

The city unveiled a model of what the area is expected to look like by 2015, complete with a flyover from northbound I-25 to westbound Paseo del Norte.

"It's going to create an opportunity for several thousand more jobs in Albuquerque because it's opening up transportation lanes, it's opening up land for development, it's opening up that entire area of town that's currently choked down by an interchange that's not working," Berry said.

About 500 car crashes occur in the area every year, Berry said.

With upcoming construction, scheduled to begin this fall, traffic may get worse before it gets better.

People living in the north valley are worries about how it could make their neighborhood even more congested.

"It is a congested area so we can expect that it's going to be difficult and there's going to have to be alterations in how you commute and get from point A to point B," Phil Gallegos, spokesman for NMDOT, said.

Still, drivers said they are willing to deal with temporary construction for improved traveling in the long run.

"I would love to see it improved," Maryellen Pino said.

Anyone with question or concerns is asked to attend a public meeting scheduled for Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Courtyard Marriott in the Kokopelli Ballroom at 5151 Journal Center Blvd. NE.