RESPEC Completes Parking and Bridge Project for the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in Less Than 4 Months

Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque International Balloon Festival

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (AIBF) is the largest hot-air ballooning event in the world. Every year, more than 750,000 spectators from around the globe come to watch hundreds of balloons take flight.

In June 2017, the AIBF contracted RESPEC to design and manage the construction of a large parking lot and access bridge with instructions to finish the project before the annual event in October. RESPEC’s team designed and managed the effort to grade the parking lot, install utilities (e.g., water, sanitary sewer, storm drain, and electric), and construct the bridge and maintenance roads. The site was separated from the fiesta by the North Diversion Channel (NDC), and the bridge would connect the lot to the balloon fiesta park. A job of that size typically takes much longer to complete, especially when accommodating for such large crowds.

Despite the time constraints, the project ran smoothly and was completed to the AIBF’s expectations by the end of September. The finished parking lot spans approximately 19 acres and includes 45 recreational vehicle (RV) parking spaces for travelers. RESPEC designed utility hookups for every RV space so that visitors could enjoy water and sewage services. The completed double-lane bridge stretches 97 feet in length. Spectators can now safely and efficiently cross the NDC from the lot to the fiesta.

RESPEC designed the storm drain system to allow stormwater to outfall to the NDC, which will eventually replace the need for a stormwater pond and saved the client valuable parking space and money. The system is still waiting on review from the US Army Corps of Engineers, ­so RESPEC installed temporary retention ponds on site until the project gets approved. RESPEC coordinated with Bernalillo County, the Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority, and the US Army Corps of Engineers to design the new system.

RESPEC has worked with the AIBF on other projects as well. RESPEC engineers have been on call for any needs that the event and event coordinators may have. Two other previously completed projects include a feasibility study for the bus drop-off and pickup zones and the design of approximately 2,500 feet of domestic-water lines to supply water to fiesta vendors.