NMDOT seeks public input on rebuilding problematic S-curve on I-25
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Anyone who’s driven the highways through downtown Albuquerque knows there are some twists and turns to watch out for. But there’s one section that seems to cause more problems than the others.
We’re talking about the S-curve on I-25 between Cesar Chavez and Lead. It’s caused numerous crashes and even more traffic jams.
Now, it appears the state Department of Transportation is ready to fix the issue, but they want to hear from you first.
Any major construction projects are still years away. The Department of Transportation hosted its first public meeting on the project Wednesday night to gauge how community members think they should move forward.
Even with reduced speed limits, officials know the problematic S-curve is a rather demanding and unexpected section for highway drivers. It’s also extremely busy with major downtown exits on both ends of the curve, not to mention all the through traffic to and from the Big-I.
It’s a serious bottleneck, and DOT reps say fixing it is one of their top priorities.
A study on this back in 2016 recommended spending nearly $100 million to essentially straighten out the S-curve so it’s not so intense, while adding extra lanes on both directions, and improving the nearby on-and-off ramps.
Officials say that’s still an option, but they’re not set on anything just yet.
“All options are on the table at this time, even including the previously identified preferred alternative. But we really want to find a solution that will reduce crashes, enhance mobility, and get the freeway moving smoother,” said Summer Herrera, an NMDOT Project Development engineer.
The big problem with fixing the S-curve is not the highway itself, it’s what’s around it. There’s a handful of Albuquerque Public School properties immediately to the east, with dozens of homes immediately to the west. It appears any major construction project will impact at least one of those groups.
The DOT is currently studying the area to determine how the project could affect those surrounding areas, which includes several historic neighborhoods and buildings.
The people who live in the area made it clear Wednesday night they’re already concerned:
“If you do decide to extend the freeway to the west, we live on properties there, what are you going to do with those properties?”
“I pray that you don’t move an inch west because you’ll displace many people.”
“Why should we, the residents of the study areas, historic neighborhoods, trust the NMDOT today?”
DOT reps say they want to hear all those concerns and are encouraging folks to submit their public comments online starting now through Dec. 17.
This will be a slow process. DOT reps say it will likely take another two years just for them to develop their top solution – that’s not even including construction.