Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico

According to Ehuacom, Albuquerque (pronunciation: ælbu-kur-ki) is the largest city in the US state of New Mexico, but not the capital. Albuquerque has 563,000 inhabitants and an urban area of ​​918,000 inhabitants (2021).


According to mcat-test-centers, the city of Albuquerque is centrally located in the state of New Mexico on the Rio Grande River. The city is located in a valley at an altitude of approximately 1,550 meters. To the east is a wooded ridge with the 3,254 m high Sandia Crest as the highest point. To the west lies a slightly higher plateau. Albuquerque is located in an arid desert area. Only the immediate vicinity of the Rio Grande is green and agricultural.

Albuquerque was founded in 1706 as a Spanish outpost called Ranchos de Alburquerque. The city was small in its first 200 years, in 1900 Albuquerque had only 6,000 inhabitants. Especially from World War II, Albuquerque grew rapidly. In the early 1950s the barrier of 100,000 inhabitants was broken and doubled to 200,000 inhabitants in 1960. Between 1980 and 2000 growth was somewhat more moderate, but increased again after 2000. In 2000 the city had 450,000 inhabitants, which grew to 546,000 inhabitants in 2010. Albuquerque is home to a large number of Hispanics, who form the largest population group in the city.

Albuquerque is located in Bernalillo County, which had a population of 674,000 in 2021. However, the city of Bernalillo is located in adjacent Sandoval County, which also includes a number of Albuquerque suburbs. Sandoval County had a population of 151,000 in 2021, but for the most part consists of almost uninhabited desert area.

Albuquerque is quite far from other major cities. New Mexico’s capital, Santa Fe, is 90 miles to the northeast, but cities like Denver (550km), Phoenix (550km), and Dallas (950km) are quite far away.

Road network

The ‘Big I’ Interchange between I-25 and I-40.

I-40 in western Albuquerque.

There are really only two freeways in Albuquerque, the north-south running Interstate 25 in New Mexico and the east-west running Interstate 40 in New Mexico. These highways converge in the middle of the city at a junction called the “Big I”. I-40 runs east from Albuquerque through the beautiful Tijeras Canyon. West of Albuquerque, the transition from desert to urban is quite abrupt. The I-25, which runs north-south, follows the valley of the Rio Grande, which is more urbanized, with many small towns outside the immediate urban area.

I-25 and I-40 both have mostly 2×4 lanes in Albuquerque and 2×2 to 2×3 lanes on the fringes of the metropolitan area. Albuquerque has no freeways, only the Paseo Del Norte (State Route 423 in New Mexico) is highway-like in the northern suburbs.

Near Albuquerque is Sandia Crest, New Mexico’s highest road at 3,255 feet.


Little is known of the construction history of I-25 and I-40 through Albuquerque. The interchange between the two highways opened in 1966, which was renovated to the current layout between 2000 and 2002. This was the largest reconstruction project in New Mexico history.

In 1950, Albuquerque was only a small city of 100,000 inhabitants and no more than a regional intersection of two planned Interstate Highways of the Interstate Plan of 1956. Therefore, no larger highway network was envisaged for this region. A ring road was also not planned. The Paseo Del Norte was a city road that was later transformed into an expressway. This happened in the early 1990s. Many businesses are located along I-25, making this corridor very busy.

Traffic intensities

Traffic in the Albuquerque region is primarily destined within the region. Already at the edges of the urban area, the intensities drop below 40,000 vehicles per day. The busiest point is I-25 north of I-40 with 188,000 vehicles per day, immediately followed by I-40 east of I-25 with 185,000 vehicles. However, the intensities drop relatively quickly, except for 10 kilometers from the Big I, there are no intensities higher than 100,000 vehicles per day. The most heavily taxed non-motorway is the Paseo Del Norte with 79,000 vehicles on the bridge over the Rio Grande.

Albuquerque, New Mexico

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