As visitors pour into Albuquerque, road construction continues

Brittany Costello
October 06, 2017 10:16 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Thousands of people are expected to pack the streets of Albuquerque for the International Balloon Fiesta over the next 10 days. But in addition to the unique shapes and bright colored balloons, visitors will also see a lot of orange that won’t be flying in the sky.


All across Albuquerque, residents have gotten used to orange construction cones and road closure signs. There are more than 20 different projects going on between the city and state transportation departments.

If you normally drive in the area of Rio Grande and Central you may have noticed something different on Friday. A lane that’s normally closed was re-opened, and construction was halted for Balloon Fiesta guests, according to ART officials.

But that is just a small relief because those orange cones are here to stay. In fact new orange barrels and construction crews are popping up all over town, just in time for Albuquerque’s biggest event. 

“This morning I was telling my wife, ‘Uh-oh, here's Balloon Fiesta, watch the traffic,’” said Stuart Prager, an Albuquerque resident.

This year, the traffic could be even worse, with a number of road work projects on the calendar.

“I noticed it, really, today,” said Linda Miller, another Albuquerque resident.

Construction at Coors and St. Josephs started Friday, according to the NM Roads website. 

“That's always been something here in New Mexico, in Albuquerque about (the time of) the Balloon Fiesta, is the traffic,” Prager said. “Then when they start construction on top of that…man what a mess it is around here.”

Albuquerque Rapid Transit project officials say they're trying to minimize construction along Central. But it won't go away completely.

“You cannot just stop a project with a hole in the street, you have to continue on,” Prager said. “The hole is there anyway. You might as well continue on during…Balloon Fiesta. However, to start a new project the week before Balloon Fiesta, that's a little bit much.”


Brittany Costello

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