ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – Time is running out for construction crews who have just broken ground on a major I-25 project outside Balloon Fiesta Park. The project is designed to lighten backups.
“With Balloon Fiesta time it’s crazy to get busy, I know we have a lot of people picking up their items during the week, and they can’t really get through, so we’re excited to see how the traffic will decrease and hopefully move more efficiently,” said Scott Hughes, co-owner of Your Easy Auction House New Mexico.
He’s thrilled to hear that the new construction will hopefully help ease traffic during Albuquerque’s Balloon Fiesta, which is just down the street from his store.
The $2.5 million project began Monday morning. It will move the southbound I-25 on-ramp to Roy Avenue and Tramway Road 1,100 feet. The city says moving it a little further south will allow visitors access to more side streets, making them faster and safer when leaving the event.
“Our goal is obviously to do this before this year’s hot air balloon party so that people can get on the ramp and exit the hot air balloon party grounds at this year’s event,” said Scott Cilke, public information officer for the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. Development, says.
The 50th edition of the Balloon Fiesta begins in just over two months, creating a tight schedule for this project. “Today has always been the start date, and we haven’t experienced any delays so far. We are definitely on track to complete the project on time and expect to complete the project on time,” Cilke said.
However, if the construction is not done on time, there is a backup plan. “With that in mind, if something massive happens where the project is not completed on time, contingency plans are in place, but we absolutely intend to complete the project by the event of this year,” Cilke said.
The city says one of the backup plans is to use Frontage Road and the Alameda on-ramp, which is the same exit strategy used in years past. For Hughes, he is optimistic about the project, even if it means enduring several months of construction.
“There are definitely going to be concerns. I know we have bidders from Santa Fe; I’m sure it will affect them a bit,” Hughes said.
A Balloon Fiesta spokesperson said he was also optimistic the project would be completed ahead of the party and was delighted with it. It’s a project they’ve been pushing for five years.