While supporters and opponents of Albuquerque Rapid Transit continue debating whether or not the project is a “done deal” — and at least one city councilor says she’d consider putting it to a vote in Albuquerque’s November general elections — its general contractor, Bradbury Stamm Construction, has already released projected schedules for at least one of the five construction segments along the 15-mile route.
Cynthia Schultz, Bradbury’s CEO, said at last night’s public meeting on the Westside — the fourth of five planned to provide the company with input to help steer its build schedule — that the meetings have helped.
“We’re learning there’s lots of festivals,” Schultz said. “There’s lots of events, and we’re trying to accommodate them as we can, and we’ll try to accommodate them how we can, and we’re trying to make our schedule work as much as possible. At the same time, we still have to finish on schedule and have the quality and the safety.”
Schultz said construction segments one and five, which encompass the east and west ends of the route, may see some activity as early as May, while the interior segments from Atrisco Drive on the Westside to Monroe Street in East Nob Hill will start to see some heavier lifting in August. Tentative schedules show construction starting in the Downtown area, which is in segment three, along the ART route on Copper and Gold Avenues from July to September.
Finalizing the build schedule is central to the city’s ability to ask the Federal Transit Administration for permission to begin spending the $18.7 million in local matching funds from gross receipts tax bonds and other programs that the city has earmarked for the project, which planners want to spend before Congress approves the $69.7 million Small Starts grant that President Obama’s 2017 budget awarded for the system’s construction. Project manager Dayna Crawford said the construction schedule has to be detailed in the letter ABQ Ride will send to the FTA asking for the preconstruction agreement.
HDR senior transportation engineer Edward Potthoff Jr. said the designs for segments one and five are ready to be sealed and will be sent to the city next week for approval. The other three segments are about 98 percent complete and will be submitted at a later date.
Klarissa J. Peña, city councilor for District 3, commented on her consideration of putting ART to a municipal vote.
“Weighing all our options, the good, the bad and the ugly, I really do have some concerns,” she said. “If you’re going to do something this big, you’re not always going to have everyone’s support.”
By: Blake Driver (Albuquerque Business First)
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