The San Mateo and I-40 Interchange is unique in that it has the Albuquerque storm water diversion channel dividing east and westbound I-40 Traffic. San Mateo forms a bridge over the channel. This ephemeral waterway and the growing consciousness of water in the southwest was one of the inspirations for the project’s aesthetic design. Other inspirations were the local mesas and the Sandia Mountains.
The aesthetic design is composed of 3 main elements. The first element is the concrete noise/barrier walls on either side of I-40. Instead of using a standard concrete panel, a repeating pattern of rain clouds and mesas were used to set the stage for the project.
The second design element is the bridge aesthetics. The bridge fencing is built with multiple layers of vinyl coated chain link of varying sizes. The patterns have mountains on both sides and a metaphorical canyon in the center directly over the storm water channel.
The third aesthetic element is the bridge monuments. These monuments reinforce the canyon metaphor. The largest is 22’ in height and is pre-cast concrete with natural rock textures. The monuments were painted in warm tones to reflect the setting sun on the Sandia Mountains.