Albuquerque, N.M., residents and visitors are facing an as-yet undetermined wait to use the Albuquerque Rapid Transit, or ART, bus line since, earlier this month, recently elected Mayor Tim Keller (D) held a press conference at which he labeled the $135-million project a “lemon.”
The 19-station, nine-mile project renovated Central Avenue with dedicated bus lanes and stations. Keller says problems with the project are related to construction, design and issues with the buses.
“The biggest issues with regard to design has to do with a couple of stations,” Keller says in a video of the press conference.
“Some of the stations are situated as such that the bus has to make an S-maneuver to get into the stop that requires cutting across current lanes of traffic. That is not workable. So, we are going to have to re-traffic at least two stations,” he said.
Keller also identified three stations that would need significant work.
HDR and Dekker/Perich/Sabatini designed the ART project; Bradbury Stamm is the general contractor.
Both design firms and the contractor say the project is in the final punchlist phase.
“We look back to when we were installing this stuff, and it would have been great if we had a bus or a model before 13 months into the project,” says Tyler Nunn, project manager at Bradbury Stamm. The city has received only nine of the 18 buses promised by the Chinese supplier BYD Co. Ltd., which now is building buses in California.
“We have been working closely with our client throughout the process and will make any necessary design adjustments if it’s determined any will be needed,” says Edward Potthoff Jr., senior project manager for HDR, in an emailed statement.
Despite the difficulties in recent weeks, the design and construction team remain optimistic of the project’s long-term prospects.
“We want to assure the community that we are committed to working with the city, construction contractor Bradbury Stamm and engineering firm HDR to resolve any and all concerns so the ART project lives up to its promise to move Albuquerque forward as a community,” says Will Gleason, Dekker/Perich/Sabatini principal, in an email.