I-25/Montgomery Reconstruction: Can we Better a Gap in a Guardrail?

As you may know, one of the area’s most urgent upcoming roadway construction projects is scheduled to be a reconstruction of the I-25/Montgomery interchange. We haven’t heard much about it lately, but locking in funding and design plans for the planned $70 million work has been ongoing for some time.

It’s a bit unclear where things stand, as NMDOT no longer has a webpage up for the project, and Better Burque is currently efforting to get more information (more about that in coming days/weeks). The project is important on a number of transportation fronts, including those of us who like to get around by non-motorized means.

If you’re such a person, you probably have been at the site below many, many times:

Yeah, the above is where the North Diversion Channel Trail (NDC), used by thousands of walkers/cyclists a month, “connects” with the northern end of all the retail shops and such surrounding Montano Blvd. west of I-25. That gap in the guard rail (now with a bollard that was the result of WAY too many lengthy discussions that I will not bore you with at this time) constitutes the “integration” of the hugely popular NDC with its north/south transportation parallel neighbor I-25. Quality integration is, of course, critical because otherwise, as is largely true now, I-25 serves as a functional “border wall” for walkers/cyclists trying to survive crossing the damn interstate. Here’s a map view if not familiar with the area:

Gap in guardrail at little red circle above. How many of you have had the fun of trying to get to/from REI (red square) and this gap? How many of you have ridden back from REI by going against frontage road traffic (raises hand)?

So as starting point, a baseline if you will, what’s needed in the upcoming ~$70 million interchange reconstruction project is to top the “connectivity” of this gap in the guardrail.

I think we can manage to top that. Nothing like a low, low baseline to ensure chances for success.

The problem so far, or so I hear, is that reconstruction plans to this point really don’t offer much beyond this gap in the guardrail, right down to the “Bike Lane Ends” sign and Suddenly Disappearing Bike Lane you see above. As there’s no information online about the project, BB is in the middle of ascertaining, via IPRAs and such, just exactly what our ~$70 million will get us non-motorized travelers.

We’ll get back to you on those findings in what should be only a few days. Given that large-scale interchange reconstructions are planned/funded to last for many decades, it’d be a shame if this gap in the guardrail was still the only “connectivity” in the year 2080.

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