Albuquerque City Councilor Dan Lewis, Director of Municipal Development Patrick Montoya and Deputy Director of Municipal Development Jennifer Morrow gathered on the on the corner of Intel Friday to celebrate the completion of improvements done to Westside Blvd. with a ribbon-cutting event.
Lewis, who represents northwest Albuquerque, said the completion of the $11 million project will be important for both Albuquerque and Rio Rancho drivers. The improvements will make commuting to and from the west side and Rio Rancho more manageable, will ease congestion and increase capacity.
“This is just such an important critical infrastructure project roadway project for both Rio Rancho and for Albuquerque, and I think it reflects a real partnership between our communities and our neighbors here,” Lewis said. ” In 2016, the city secured $600,000 for federal design, with a local match of that came from Albuquerque tax dollars or capital funds of $120,000. Another $1.9. million dollars was secured through local general obligation bond funds in 2017 and 2019. Those are funds that went before the the G.O. bond program, and taxpayers voted on and supported this project. And with that match, the city then received $9.5 million in federal construction funding in 2020. “The city of Rio Rancho certainly supported us in getting federal funds for design and construction to the Mid-region Council of Governments, which prioritized this project as well,” Lewis said.
Westside Blvd. has been under construction since April 2021. It was expected to be finished in August of last year but ran into supply delays. Now that its completed, the small stretch of Westside Boulevard has been widened from two lanes to four, between Golf Course and Highway 528.
“I also want to thank the community. There’s neighbors that live on both sides of the street, near Rio Rancho and in Albuquerque,” Lewis said. “There was a number of community meetings and listening to their input; our department and the planners and engineers certainly took into account some of the concerns by the neighbors, and many of them have lived there for a long time. They knew that this was a roadway that eventually would be widened and completed. Many of them supported us and the ones that had questions, I think, we were able to answer those questions and to be able to mitigate some of the challenges of putting the widening of roadway not right next to a very nice community and neighborhood. One of the advantages is we have a lot of commuter traffic that comes from Rio Rancho into the city of Albuquerque, and where a lot of that traffic would have gone right into our neighborhoods; that traffic now goes where it should go and that is to the major thoroughfares that are built for that kind of traffic.”
As Lewis spoke, loud traffic flowed through the intersection of Westside and NM 528. On average, about 19,000 drivers use Westside every day to get from 528 to Unser. With the expansion, the road is now capable of seeing up to 30,000 drivers each day.
“So this is a part of improving our infrastructure on the west side, and we’re continuing to to make sure that we prioritize projects like this, so that the west side has the infrastructure that it needs to be able to support the communities that live on the west side,” Lewis said. “So you can already see that this is one of the busier intersections in Albuquerque and Rio Rancho right now and it’s just just recently been opened.”