Cracked problem to close busy exit ramp

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – A problem after construction is being blamed for one of the busiest off-ramps in Albuquerque on the list to be ripped up and repaired.

Thousands of drivers take the I-40 eastbound exit ramp to Louisiana Boulevard every day, with most of them are heading to the three malls in the area. But, the pavement has been cracking underneath all of those cars and the New Mexico Department of Transportation said the ramp may soon have to close.

That news has drivers concerned.

“I can only imagine it’s going to be worse,” Christine Kynor said.

It’s not the first time drivers will deal the orange barrels. Construction on the Louisiana ramps started in 2004. It’s been 10 years now and DOT spokeswoman Melissa Dosher said there is a big problem with the eastbound exit ramp.

“Something is going to have to be done and that could be from ripping out the concrete slabs on that ramp and compacting the soil, adding more soil and replacing those slabs,” Dosher said.

There are huge cracks that have surfaced across the ramp and it’s clear sections of the middle lane are lower than the outside lanes. Dosher said for now it is not a safety issue. However, she said if it is not fixed it could get worse.

Dosher said the issue was discovered during a routine check of the ramps. She said engineers determined the settling of soil underneath the pavement caused it to shift.

DOT said crews do compact the soil to try and avoid this problem. Dosher said while the issue is rare, it does happen and can’t always be avoided.

Christine Kynor drives that route and is not convinced with DOT’s answer.

“Why aren’t the other ramps not having the same issues?” Kynor asked.

Kynor said when the orange barrels are brought out again, she knows its going to be a mess around Louisiana.

“This is going to really back up the traffic here on Louisiana and Indian School, because they’re going to come up Indian School or Menaul and make more traffic,” Kynor said.

“I know that a lot of people go through that intersection – including the buses that I usually take – so hopefully it doesn’t slow down the bus service,” Ososwski said.

DOT is estimating the fix would take about a month. They’re considering a start of construction late spring of next year.

At this time, there is no word on how much the repairs will cost, but DOT said federal tax dollars will pay for it.

This is the second time new construction in that area has had to be repaired.

In 2010, crews had to replace a crumbling lane on I-40 between Louisiana and San Pedro because of a bad batch of asphalt.

The contractor paid for the fix.

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