Tramway repaving adding to commuter woes

Posted at: 10/18/2013 6:29 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

It’s been a rough week for Albuquerque commuters trying to navigate around the big Paseo/I-25 reconstruction job.  Many of us have already scratched Alameda off as an alternative route, thanks to a slow-moving construction job on that major artery. Now a lot of drivers are considering the same fate for Tramway, but hang on.

Yes, Tramway is a "Slamway" during the heart of the daytime hours, but it can still work for a lot of commuters in the early morning and evening rush hours. The "Slamway" lasts from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. It’s a repaving job from Sandia Casino to County Line barbecue: flagmen, pilot trucks, one way traffic one way at a time. Wait times are five or ten minutes, plenty of time for drivers to reflect on the mysteries of life. Like why these road projects seem to pile up on each other.

“We live over on Live Oak and Tramway,” said driver Michael Doty. “This was our sort of escape route from Paseo and now that they’re doing this we don’t really have a way to access I-25 easily.”

“If it’s necessary, it’s necessary I guess, but it sucks,” said Paloma D’Arbonne. “To live in New Mexico you have to endure it. It’s always being torn up with road construction, so I’m used to it.”

“Well, I think it’s ridiculous,” said Meredith Willis. “I mean they need to focus on one thing at a time and get it done and not worry about all these extra projects that they’ve got going on.”

The Tramway job is a state highway project, and engineers from the state Department of Transportation consider it to be to be outside of the Paseo project range. It is in fact two miles north of Paseo and a couple of miles east. That’s why it’s being done at the same time as Paseo.  It will probably be completed next Wednesday – a real short-timer compared to Paseo. That one is targeted for 14 months. By our calculation we have about 425 days to go. That’s longer than the gestation period for a camel and less than a rhinoceros – right on target for a baby giraffe.

“It’s just like the government shutdown,” said Tom Boutwell, waiting for the pilot truck to lead him eastward. “We were all looking for it to be done. I’m looking for this to be all done and once it is my beautiful city will have some nice roads!”