Construction for the massive Albuquerque Rapid Transit project along Central Avenue (aka Route 66) will be delayed two months.
Also, a former city attorney told a television station ART could be further delayed because the project runs afoul of the city’s Landmarks and Urban Preservation Commission.
ART would carve out two center lanes of nine miles of Central Avenue for buses that would mimic commuter trains. The proposal, shepherded by Mayor Richard Berry and recently passed by a divided city council, has 80 percent of its cost covered by a federal grant. The idea aims to make Albuquerque more attractive to millennials and cutting-edge companies.
ART won’t start until at least late July because city officials want to work out design changes sought by the public and city councilors, reported the Albuquerque Journal.
One of the changes is to add an ART station near Central and San Pedro, adding about $400,000 to the project’s nearly $120 million price tag.
Another city councilor wants narrower traffic lanes to create more room for sidewalks and landscaping between the Rio Grande and downtown. City officials haven’t yet estimated the cost of that change.
Despite that, the city thinks it still can get ART opened by fall 2017:
Joanie Griffin, a spokeswoman for the project, said the goal is still to finish construction by fall next year. Crews plan to consolidate construction into a 14-month period, she said, rather than 16 months. […]
Griffin said a project liaison will meet with businesses along the corridor about 60 days before construction starts nearby.
The city already has warned businesses to expect construction to last up to two months, with work focusing on 2,000-foot sections at a time.
Then there’s this Wednesday night report from KOAT-TV of an interview with former Albuquerque city attorney Pete Dinelli, who says the city’s failure to bring ART to the Landmarks Commission could create “major delays.”
Dinelli said ART must make sure it adheres to preserving historic landmarks along Central. Without that, the city can expect “delay after delay after delay.”
Somehow, I get the feeling the 150 businesses or so behind the effort to sink ART sent Dinelli after the city.
This isn’t over, folks.
(Artist’s rendering of an Albuquerque Rapid Transit station)