US 550 construction project nears completion

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The U.S. 550 interchange reconstruction project is almost over, seven months after construction was supposed to wrap up. Before construction is done for good though, it’s going to get worse for drivers.

The $19.3 million project to remodel the freeway interchange dragged months past the November deadline. Tuesday night crews will start putting down the final paving layer.

Phil Gallegos, a spokesperson with the New Mexico Department of Transportation, said this final step was pushed back by weather.

“They were late getting the project finished, so we had to wait for temperatures that were sufficient that we could do this work at nighttime,” Gallegos said.

There will be overnight ramp closures Tuesday northbound and Wednesday southbound for the final paving. Thursday through Saturday there will be various lane closures surrounding the project.

There’s still a big obstacle for the project– sealing the bridge over I-25. Crews initially thought they’d have to close the bridge completely for two days, cutting Placitas off from I-25 southbound.

Gallegos says they’ve found a way around it to keep at least one westbound lane open.

“They won’t be able to access the ramps, but they will be able to get across and i’ll cut that 10 mile detour down to a mile,” Gallegos said.

Gallegos said this work will be done the last weekend in June.

The contractor could be fined up to $8,300 for every day that construction went past deadline, according to Gallegos. He said the state and contractor will meet once construction is complete about potential fines.

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