NM 500 Rio Bravo Bridge Replacement

Between Isleta Boulevard (milepost 8.80) and 2nd Street (milepost 10.50)
NMDOT Control No. A301001

Project Overview

The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), is planning to replace the east- and west-bound bridges on NM Highway 500 (Rio Bravo Boulevard) spanning the Rio Grande in Albuquerque within Bernalillo County.  The Project Area is located on NM 500 between NM Highway 314 (Isleta Boulevard SW) and NM Highway 303 (2nd Street SW), and includes the two bridges crossing the Rio Grande and the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District (MRGCD) Albuquerque Riverside Drain. Rio Bravo Boulevard is a critical east-west route in Albuquerque’s South Valley and is one of seven Rio Grande crossings in the Albuquerque metro area.

The purpose and need for this project is to address structural deficiencies while also reducing congestion and improving multi-modal transportation system connectivity within the project limits.  The needs are based on the fact that the eastbound river bridge is in poor condition and requires replacement, pedestrian and bicycle facilities are discontinuous in the project limits, and it has been determined that additional river crossing capacity is needed in the metro area.

Figure 1.  Project limits extend from Isleta Blvd to 2nd Street.  Intersection Improvements at Isleta Blvd and 2nd Street are not part of this project (click to enlarge the image).

County

Bernalillo

District

District 3

STIP Number

Status

Study & Design

Contact

Sandra Chavez, Project Development Engineer
(505) 288-4104

Public Involvement

Public and Agency Coordination

The Phase IA/B study phase was performed in 2020-2021 and included agency and stakeholder coordination to identify needs and key issues so they could be addressed in the collaborative development of the proposed improvements. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is the lead agency for National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliance, with NMDOT as the project proponent acting on behalf of FHWA. Coordination was undertaken with other federal, state, and local agencies with jurisdiction and/or responsibility for lands and resources within the project area as well as
members of the local community.

The study team hosted a public involvement meeting on Wednesday, December 9, 2020. The structure and content of the public meeting were a virtual meeting platform scaled to the context of the local community and the project’s purpose and need. In addition, the project team conducted interviews with eight property owners in June 2021 to discuss the project with those adjacent to the Rio Bravo Boulevard corridor. Common concerns centered around noise from traffic and trucks along the corridor, impacts from construction traffic through local neighborhoods, drainage and flooding concerns, Dean Road and Rio Bravo Blvd intersection safety, impacts to properties, the safety of the nearby properties and crime, pedestrian and bicycle access, and continued notifications of public meetings and project updates to the local property owners.

Input was gathered to identify issues of interest and concern and to develop, evaluate, and refine project alternatives. A preferred alternative was then identified and the Phase A/B Study was completed in September 2021. The Study and project-related information can be found in the PROJECT RESOURCES below.

Thank you for your participation!

A public meeting was hosted in April 2022 to provide a summary of the previous study phase public meeting and feedback, identify the recommended alternatives and proposed improvements, present the maintenance of traffic and adjacent projects, and outline the project development process and schedule.

Recording of Virtual Public Meeting, April 13, 2022

Public Meeting Outreach and Comment Summary Report, July 2022

What is Planned for this Project?

Final Design is currently ongoing for the preferred alternative.  The project will involve the replacement of the Rio Grande Bridge with a 14-span, steel girder bridge. A 2-span, pre-stressed concrete slab girder bridge and a continuous, closed pipe culvert would replace the bridge over the Albuquerque Riverside Drain. The open portion of the drain would have a continuous culvert pipe that crosses under Poco Loco Drive, the Rio Bravo Bridge, and Dean Road. In addition to this, retaining walls and pedestrian access elements are under development.

The improvements will include the following elements:

Number and Continuity of Bridges
One bridge crossing the Rio Grande and one bridge crossing the Albuquerque Drain is the recommended alternative, instead of building one continuous bridge, or separating directions of traffic on parallel bridges.

Albuquerque Riverside Drain and Bridge
Replacing the bridge with a two-span, prestressed concrete slab girder bridge and replacing the open portion of the drain with a continuous culvert pipe that crosses under Poco Loco Drive, the Rio Bravo Bridge, and Dean Road, is the recommended alternative.

Rio Grande Bridge Replacement
A 14-span bridge with 60” simple span steel plate girders was chosen as the recommended alternative. Atrisco Riverside Drain and West Abutment Location
The recommended alternative includes locating the west abutment behind the west levee, placing the first pier in line with the levee, leaving the Atrisco Riverside Drain culvert in place and extending it to the north, demolishing the existing CBC, and aligning the access road under the first bridge span.

Project Resources

Phase A/B Virtual Public Meeting

December 2020 (Recorded Event)

Phase A/B Public Comment Summary Report

March 2021

Phase A/B Study Final - CN A301000

September 2021

3D PHOTO SIMULATIONS

Below are 3-dimensional (3D) photo simulations prepared to illustrate how the proposed bridge improvements would fit within the Rio Bravo Boulevard corridor.  These simulations highlight the preferred design alternative (Alternative 6), which is a straight partially offset alignment to the north of the existing alignment.  This alternative has an increased profile and longer bridge spans.  This preferred design alternative would include pedestrian safety improvements, address key deficiencies to the existing bridge structures, and would be designed with the capacity to add an additional lane of traffic in each direction at an undetermined date in the future.

Rio Bravo Bridge (view west)
Click to Enlarge

Exhibit 1a. Existing Rio Bravo Boulevard looking west as it spans the Rio Grande.

Rio Bravo Bridge (view west)
Click to Enlarge

Exhibit 1b. Simulation of the proposed Rio Bravo bridge improvements looking west as it spans the Rio Grande. Please note that this alternative would be designed with the capacity to add an additional lane of traffic in each direction at an undetermined date in the future.

Rio Bravo Bridge (view west)
Click to Enlarge

Exhibit 2a. Existing Rio Bravo bridge, view looking north as it spans the Rio Grande.

Rio Bravo Bridge (view west)
Click to Enlarge

Exhibit 2b. Simulation of the proposed Rio Bravo bridge improvements looking north as it spans the Rio Grande.

NM 500 Rio Bravo Bridge Replacement Project

Project Timeline

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SPring 2020

Phase 1A-B Study Initiated (CN A301000)

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December 2020

Virtual Public Meeting – Study Phase

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OcTober 2021

Phase 1A-B Study Completed & FHWA Concurrence Received

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Fall 2021 - current

Design Development & Environmental Analysis In-Progress

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April 13, 2022

Virtual Public Meeting – Design Phase

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Fall 2024

Finalize Design Plans for CN A301001

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Spring 2025

Start of Construction Anticipated