Last year 783,866 guests attended the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, down from the 866,414 that attended in 2019. This year the number of visitors is expected to be higher as there are fewer COVID restrictions and because it is the festival’s 50th anniversary.
More visitors mean more vehicles traveling along Albuquerque’s roadways, but this year some of the traffic congestion will be mitigated thanks to a new on-ramp constructed near Balloon Fiesta Park. On Monday, Sept. 26, city and state leaders announced the southbound I-25 Tramway on-ramp relocation project was complete. The ramp is now south of Tramway and is supposed to provide easier access to the highway from Balloon Fiesta Park.
According to a Department of Municipal Development press release, construction on the ramp began in late July and was mostly complete earlier this month at a cost of $2.5 million.
“We are so happy to have completed this project on time and on budget,” said Patrick Montoya, director of the Department of Municipal Development. “The new ramp should greatly improve the experience exiting the park for all of this year’s Balloon Fiesta attendees.”
Another $2.2 million went into additional improvements around the park, including a new park and ride bus depot, a 500-vehicle parking lot on the northeast side of the park and repaving and improved access along Pilots Parkway.
“The Balloon Fiesta is a great opportunity to showcase our city and our state,” Mayor Tim Keller said. “Over the last 50 years, Balloon Fiesta has transformed into a major international event. These additions are just one way we’re working to set the stage for another 50 years of success, improving the experience for Burqueños and visitors alike.”
According to an economic impact report by Forward Analytics, about 71% of visitors to the Balloon Fiesta came from out of state in 2019. The report says the 2019 Balloon Fiesta had an estimated $186.82 million economic impact on Albuquerque’s business volume.