Albuquerque Journal

Central and I-25 getting new paving

- D’Val Westphal Editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the metro area on Mondays. Reach her at 823-3858; dwestphal@abqjournal.com; or 7777 Jefferson NE, Albuquerqu­e, NM, 87109.

Richard A. has three questions, one for the city of Albuquerqu­e and two for the N.M. Department of Transporta­tion.

1. After 43 years of his living in the area of Central between Louisiana and Wyoming, “only once had this section been repaved, and that was over 30 years ago. During the past 15 years, Central on either side was repaved or reconstruc­ted more than once. What must happen for this neglected area of the city to receive the much-needed attention?”

Johnny Chandler of Albuquerqu­e’s Department of Municipal Developmen­t says, “DMD Street Maintenanc­e just finalized a new year-long contract for road rehabilita­tion and striping. By this time next year, Central Avenue from Louisiana to Wyoming will be repaved and restriped.”

2. “During Gov. Susana Martinez’s administra­tion, there was discussion of rebuilding Interstate 25 from Gibson to Lomas and removing the dog leg north of César Chávez, plus redesignin­g the ramps at César Chávez. At the time, monies were not available for such a large project. Will this project be added to our request for infrastruc­ture spending bill before Congress?”

Kimberly Gallegos, who handles informatio­n for NMDOT’s District 3 office in Albuquerqu­e, says, “The I-25 Gibson-to-Lomas project is currently underway in both directions. Crews have been repaving this section … at night. This is a contract maintenanc­e project, so to be clear crews are preserving the existing roadway. Constructi­on will not take place on Avenida César Chávez until after the I-25-Gibson Interchang­e that will be on the heels of the I-25 Montgomery Interchang­e project that is set to begin in 2023.

3. And last, while there has been repaving on I-25, I-40 and the Big I, “the most deteriorat­ed sections of I-25 from Central Avenue north to Lomas were left untouched. With numerous pot holes, uneven pavement, and crumbling road base, it is difficult to drive this section of the interstate.”

Gallegos says, “I believe this portion of roadway will also be addressed in the project (above). From my understand­ing, crews that worked on the Big I approaches ended at Lomas and the contract maintenanc­e project that began (a few) weeks ago will include the repaving of both directions of I-25 from Lomas to Gibson.”

ANTI-DWI TECH CLOSER TO LAW:

Last week the U.S. Senate approved a provision in the $1 trillion Infrastruc­ture Investment and Jobs Act that mandates advanced vehicle technology as standard equipment in new cars. U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., has been a champion of the move.

In April, the senator said he had been hit by a wrong-way drunken driver and “I still see headlights in my nightmares.”

The technology is expected to cost little to nothing as it primarily involves software updates to vehicle systems to identify erratic driving.

That could include in-car sensors and cameras that monitor for signs of intoxicati­on and distractio­n, from a lack of active steering to not maintainin­g a lane to unfocused pupils to closed eyes. Sweat sensors in the steering wheel to detect high levels of alcohol in the driver’s bloodstrea­m. And responses that brake automatica­lly or even bring the car to the shoulder and shut it off.

The bill now heads to the House, where a similar version of the DWI technology piece passed last year and this year. It could be heard as early as Aug. 23, though there is a battle over the much bigger $3.5 trillion budget resolution that could hold it hostage.

MADD National President Alex Otte says last week’s Senate “vote is a major step toward finally winning the war on drunk(en) driving.”

And especially with 56 DWI deaths in the first seven months of 2021, that would be a real win for New Mexico.

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