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Albuquerque @ AARoads

Albquerque's metropolitan area includes fast-growing Rio Rancho, with its new Central Business District. Highlighted here is what remains within the New Mexico state highway system, historic U.S. 66 and 85, and the freeway network.

Some of the historical information (especially regarding state routes) provided below was researched using Steve Riner's excellent New Mexico Highways web site.

Interstate Highways

Photographs:

Northbound
Southbound

Pan American Freeway

Interstate 25 is known as the Pan American Freeway through the Albuquerque metropolitan area. The freeway joins the Sandoval County cities of Bernalillo and Rio Rancho with Albuquerque and South Valley as the main north-south route. Overall capacity ranges from four lanes through the Sandia Pueblo to ten lanes outside of downtown.

Parts of Interstate 25 have seen improvements in recent years as part of the GRIP initiative. A $15.5-million project upgraded the freeway at New Mexico 556 (Tramway Road) by expanding the road to six lanes and replacing the 1955-58 overpasses above Tramway Road. Work at Exit 234 was completed by Spring 2006.

The Tramway Road interchange work is part of an overall GRIP project to expand Interstate 25 northward from Albuquerque to Bernalillo. Work begins in 2008 to six-lane the roadway from New Mexico 556 to U.S. 550, encompassing the freeway through Sandia Pueblo and the city of Bernalillo itself.

A second Albuquerque area GRIP project is the reconstruction of Exit 220 with New Mexico 500 (Rio Bravo Boulevard). Growth in the Mesa Del Sol master-planned community is underway with the University Boulevard south extension to the Journal Pavilion concert venue. Improvements at the interchange will enhance accessibility to the area. A second interchange to Mesa Del Sol via the planned Mesa Del Sol Boulevard is proposed along Interstate 25.

GRIP is Governor Bill Richardson's Investment Partnership program, a $1.6-billion effort to improve highway infrastructure throughout the state.

Photographs:

Eastbound

Coronado Freeway

Replacing the post-1937 routing of U.S. 66, Interstate 40 (Coronado Freeway) crosses the city of Albuquerque from west Bernalillo County and the Laguna Indian Reservation to Cibola National Forest and Tijeras. Like Interstate 25, the freeway varies from four lanes in rural areas to ten lanes near downtown. Much of the freeway through Albuquerque opened in 1962.

Many GRIP projects have been completed along Interstate 40. Most notably, the "Big I" project with Interstate 25 saw completion in 2002 in just 24-months. That project reconstructed a directional interchange between the two freeways into a high-speed stack interchange to coincide with frontage road and other area improvements.

Other interchanges along the Coronado Freeway that were upgraded include the Coors Boulevard interchange. Originally a directional-cloverleaf interchange with left-hand ramps, the new Exit 155 includes flyover ramps and adjacent improvements ranging from new pedestrian bridges and a new Coors Boulevard overpass. This work was completed in 2006.

Further west in rural Bernalillo County, a completed GRIP project redesigned the Rio Puerco interchange on and off-ramps in conjunction with a new roundabout at the Route 66 Casino. Work was completed between August and November 2007.

East of Interstate 25, the San Mateo Boulevard interchange (Exit 161) receives a $25-million GRIP redesign. Changes remove the Exit 161B loop ramp to San Mateo Boulevard north and redesign the remaining ramps to accommodate eight to ten lanes of Interstate 40 below. Work begins in fall 2008.

Future projects include a reconstruction of the West Central Avenue (Historic U.S. 66) and Paseo del Volcan split interchanges (Exit 149) west of Albuquerque. Development along Paseo del Volcan will increase traffic demands on the road and ramps from Interstate 40. Therefore improvements are proposed but no time table is set.


Photographs:

Historic U.S. 66

Former Business Loop Interstate 40

Business Loop Interstate 40 was the designation given to U.S. 66 after the route was decommissioned through Albuquerque along Central Avenue. The designation was removed from the state logs sometime during the 1990s, but several reassurance signs remain in the field in 2008.

U.S. Highways

Photographs:

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U.S. 550

U.S. 550 is the only federal highway to serve the Albuquerque metropolitan area. The route replaced New Mexico 44 when the highway was four-laned by 2000. U.S. 550 ends at the Interstate 25 (Exit 242) interchange with New Mexico 165 in Bernalillo and joins Rio Rancho with Farmington to the northwest.

Photographs:

Central Avenue

U.S. 66/85

There are no U.S. highways remaining within the system in Albuquerque. U.S. 66 however, is well signed along its two historic routes through the area. The pre-1937 route follows Iseleta Boulevard northward (along what would later be signed U.S. 85) to Bridge Boulevard across the Rio Grande and into the city of Albuquerque. Turning northward on 4th Street, old U.S. 66 traverses downtown en route to Los Ranchos de Albuquerque and Alameda. New Mexico 313 continues old U.S. 66/85 northward from New Mexico 556 into Sandoval County. The state road continues the route through Bernalillo and Santa Ana Pueblo.

The post-1937 route of U.S. 66 simply entails Central Avenue through Albuquerque and various frontage road segments parallel to Interstate 40. Central was also a part of Business Loop Interstate 40 at one point, but that designation too was decommissioned. New Mexico 333 follows old U.S. 66 east from Albuquerque to Camuel and Tijeras.

U.S. 85 was replaced wholly by Interstate 25 within the state of New Mexico by 1990. The route followed the pre-1937 routing of U.S. 66 throughout the Albuquerque area.

Additionally an U.S. 85 Alternate route existed along 2nd Street between Bridge Boulevard and Alameda in conjunction with 3rd Street southbound through downtown. This routing was eliminated by 1988 but was replaced with New Mexico 47 in 1977. New Mexico 47 would later shift eastward to Broadway Boulevard, leaving 2nd Street an unnumbered roadway.1

State Highways

There are a handful of state routes serving the Albuquerque metropolitan area. Many of the original system were decommissioned by 1988. The list below catalogs those that remain and those removed. Unfortunately some mapping companies and geodata providers still acknowledge the bulk of these routes.

New Mexico 44 - Decommissioned

New Mexico 44 was replaced by New Mexico 165 east of U.S. 85 by 1988 and by an extension of U.S. 550 by 2000.

New Mexico 45

Following Coors Boulevard northward, New Mexico 45 travels from South Valley to Arenal and west Albuquerque, ending at Central Avenue (U.S. 66). New Mexico 45 originally ended at the Coors Road intersection with Central, but was realigned in the 1990s onto Coors Boulevard to its present end. Many maps still show the old alignment as New Mexico 45 and the new alignment as New Mexico 448, but New Mexico 448 only travels Coors Boulevard as far south as St. Joseph's Drive.

New Mexico 46 - Decommissioned

New Mexico 46 was wholesale replaced by a northern extension of New Mexico 448 and New Mexico 558 in 1988. It originally ran along Corrales Road through Corrales to Rio Rancho, and current New Mexico 556 to U.S. 550.

New Mexico 47

New Mexico 47 was replaced by U.S. 85 Alternate along its 2nd Street routing within the city during the 1950s only to return officially by 1988 with U.S. 85A's decommissioning. A later shift would move the state route onto Broadway over then-New Mexico 361. New Mexico 47 follows Broadway Boulevard north from South Valley through downtown to Candelaria Road where it turns west. Candelaria Road returns the route to 2nd Street leading north to Alameda and its terminus at 4th Street (New Mexico 556 south / former New Mexico 313 south).

New Mexico 98 - Decommissioned

Decommissioned state route following mostly Edith Boulevard until its 1988 termination. New Mexico 98 basically acted as a loop between Broadway Boulevard to 2nd Street via Osuna Road.

New Mexico 135 - Decommissioned

Removed by the late 1960s, New Mexico 135 followed Bridge Boulevard west from Iseleta Boulevard (U.S. 85) to Central Avenue (U.S. 66).

New Mexico 165

New Mexico 165 replaced New Mexico 44 east of Interstate 25 Exit 252 in 1985. The two-lane roadway serves the Placitas community on its rural path to New Mexico 536 in Bernalillo County.

New Mexico 194 - Decommissioned

Originally eight miles in length, New Mexico 194 was truncated to one half mile in the mid-80s and done away with by the early 2000s. The state route followed Rio Grande Boulevard north from Central Avenue (U.S. 66) in Albuquerque to New Mexico 528 (Alameda Boulevard) in Alameda.

New Mexico 296 - Decommissioned

Replaced by nearby New Mexico 528 (Alameda Boulevard), New Mexico 296 traveled just one mile along Alameda Road between then-U.S. 85 (4th Street) and former-New Mexico 425 (Edith Road). The route was terminated in the mid 1980s.

New Mexico 303 - Decommissioned

New Mexico 303 represents a former six-mile route along Desert Road and 2nd Street between New Mexico 47 (Broadway Boulevard) in South Valley and former-New Mexico 314 (Bridge Boulevard) south of downtown. New Mexico 303 replaced the relocated New Mexico 47 between 1988 and its decommissioning in 2000.

New Mexico 313

4th Street carried New Mexico 313 northward from former-New Mexico 314 (Bridge Boulevard) until 1988. The route was truncated to Roy Avenue (New Mexico 556), with New Mexico 556 overtaking the short segment between 2nd Street (New Mexico 47) and Roy Avenue as well. Currently New Mexico 313 travels 17.1 miles north from New Mexico 556 (Roy Avenue) to Bernalillo through Santa Ana Pueblo.

New Mexico 314

Like New Mexico 313 to the north, New Mexico 314 followed the old U.S. 66/85 routing (Iseleta Boulevard / Bridge Boulevard) south from central Albuquerque to South Valley (Interstate 25 Exit 213). Truncation north of Interstate 25 occurred in 1988, leaving an 18.5-mile segment southward to Business Loop Interstate 25 in Belen.

New Mexico 315

Providing a short connector between Interstate 25 Exit 248 and New Mexico 313 (former U.S. 66/85), New Mexico 315 serves the Algodones area within the San Felipe Indian Reservation.

New Mexico 333

New Mexico 333 follows old U.S. 66 parallel to Interstate 40 east from Albuquerque to Camuel and Tijeras on a 27.7-mile routing. NM 333 begins at the Central Avenue intersection with New Mexico 556 (Tramway Boulevard) adjacent to Interstate 40 Exit 167.

New Mexico 345

New Mexico 345 entails 3.65 miles of Unser Boulevard, a lengthy north-south arterial route that joins the Bernalillo west suburbs with Rio Rancho in Sandoval County. The route begins at Central Avenue (U.S. 66) and ends at St. Joseph's Avenue.

New Mexico 367 - Decommissioned

This route followed San Mateo Boulevard south from Interstate 25 Exit 230 to Central Avenue (U.S. 66) in Albuquerque. The five-mile route only lasted between the 1960s and 80s and was never signed in the field.

New Mexico 423

Albuquerque's only non-Interstate freeway, New Mexico 423 (Paseo Del Norte Boulevard), provides high-speed travel between Jefferson Street (North Valley) and Eagle Ranch Road (Paradise Hills). Overall the route tallies 17.0-miles between New Mexico 556 (Tramway Boulevard) and Golf Course Road. The non-freeway portion consists of a busy surface arterial east to North Albuquerque Acres. A western extension carries Paseo Del Norte beyond the state highway end to Woodmont Avenue (Ventana Ranch), with an ultimate end planned at the proposed Northwest Loop Road.

New Mexico 425 - Decommissioned

A former three-mile route along Edith Boulevard between Osuna Road and former-New Mexico 296 (Alameda Road) in North Valley. New Mexico 425 was removed by 1990.

New Mexico 448

A 13.0-mile route, New Mexico 448 loops east from New Mexico 528 through Corrales to Coors Boulevard in Albuquerque. The state route follows all of Coors southward to a truncated end at St. Joseph's Avenue. Originally New Mexico 448 traveled between Central Avenue and New Mexico 46 (Corrales Road). In 1988 the route replaced New Mexico 46 north of New Mexico 528 (Alameda Boulevard) into Sandoval County.

New Mexico 473

New Mexico 473 represents a short connector between Interstate 25 Exit 240 and New Mexico 313 (old U.S. 66/85) in Bernalillo.

New Mexico 500

Following Rio Bravo Boulevard, New Mexico 500 travels 4.35 miles east-west between New Mexico 45 (Coors Boulevard) and Interstate 25 Exit 220. The entire route is a four-lane divided arterial.

New Mexico 528

New Mexico 528 constitutes a 15.4-mile loop west from Interstate 25 through Rio Rancho and north Albuquerque. Beginning at Exit 233, the state highway follows Alameda Boulevard west to the Coors Boulevard Bypassed north of Cottonwood Mall. Rio Ranch Drive continues the route northward through Sandoval County to junction U.S. 550. The northernmost segment, from Corrales Road (New Mexico 448) north, replaced New Mexico 46.

New Mexico 556

This state route consists of Tramway Boulevard/Road north from Foot Hills Road/Interstate 40 Exit 167 around the northeast side of Albuquerque to the Roy Avenue extension at Interstate 25 Exit 234. New Mexico 556's west end lies at the 2nd Street (New Mexico 47) split from 4th Street.

The east-west portion of Tramway Road opened in the early 1970s through Sandia Pueblo, linking with the Sandia Peak Aerial Tramway. Tramway Boulevard followed with construction in the 1980s as a north-south arterial.

Other Roads

Other roads of interest.

Northwest Loop Road

Currently most of the Northwest Loop Road exists only on paper, except for a short segment at Hawk Site in far northern Rio Rancho. West from there, Northwest Loop Road stays north of Mariposa East to Mariposa Ranch and the Rio Ranch Estates area. Outside of Rio Ranch Estates, the road turns southward en route to Interstate 40, west of the western fringes of any suburban development.

The route will initially consist of a two-lane gravel road with upgrades to a paved highway as development warrants. Ultimately Northwest Loop Road will consist of an arterial route.

Paseo del Volcan

There are two segments of Paseo del Volcan: The southern segment stays west of Albuquerque from Senator Dennis Chavez Boulevard north to Exit 149 of Interstate 40 and then beyond to Petroglyph National Monument. Annexations of Albuquerque put Paseo del Volcan within the city limits from Double Eagle II Airport to the west extension of Paseo Del Norte at Quail Ranch.

Within Sandoval County, Paseo del Volcan serves the new Central Business District of Rio Rancho between Iris Road and Unser Boulevard. Much of the route remains proposed within Rio Rancho, including the southwest extension through Rio Rancho Estates and Bernalillo County. Construction of Paseo del Volcan to U.S. 550 at Enchanted Hills is slated for completion by 2010. Like Northwest Loop Road, Paseo del Volcan will be built as an arterial.

Coal Avenue east
8th Street northbound at Coal Avenue east. Coal Avenue in conjunction with Lead Avenue provide a through route east to Interstate 25 over the BNSF Railroad. Photo taken 06/29/08.
Coal Avenue has a new urbanism feel as it travels east from 8th Street south of downtown Albuquerque. Photo taken 06/29/08.
6th Street travels north into the Albuquerque central business district from Iron Avenue. Photo taken 06/29/08.
Eastbound Coal Avenue at 5th Street. Coal Avenue is one of several streets named after metals. Others include Iron, Lead, Silver, Gold, and Copper. Photo taken 06/29/08.
4th Street crosses Coal Avenue in this scene. The north-south street carried U.S. 66 from Bridge Boulevard northward until 1937. U.S. 85 followed the street until 1990. Photo taken 06/29/08.
Entering the intersection with 3rd Street on Coal Avenue east. 3rd Street was once a part of U.S. 85 Alternate southbound through downtown (until 1988). Northbound followed 2nd Street. Photo taken 06/29/08.
2nd Street leads north into the Arts and Entertainment District of downtown Albuquerque. Additionally Coal Avenue switches to an eastbound-only flow. Photo taken 06/29/08.
A three-lane viaduct carries Coal Avenue eastward over 1st Street and the BNSF/Amtrak railroad lines between 2nd Street and Broadway. Photo taken 06/29/08.
Coal Avenue touches down at Broadway (New Mexico 47). New Mexico 47 travels Broadway (former New Mexico 361) from South Valley to Candelaria Road. Photo taken 06/29/08.
Entering the intersection with Locust Street south at the southbound on-ramp to Interstate 25. A split diamond interchange joins the freeway with Coal Avenue east and Lead Avenue west. Photo taken 06/29/08.
Weathered sign assembly for the northbound on-ramp to Interstate 25 over Coal Avenue east. Oak Street leads drivers north to the freeway while also acting as a frontage road through to Lomas Boulevard. Photo taken 06/29/08.
Oak Street represents New Mexico Frontage Road 2523 heading north from Exit 224A. Coal Avenue continues east to Roosevelt Park beyond the freeway. Photo taken 06/29/08.

Sources:

  1. U.S. and Interstate Highways in New Mexico (Steve Riner)

Page Updated September 20, 2008.