ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The new Paseo del Norte interchange might just be a couple months removed from major construction, but NMDOT is closing down a big chunk of it for a hefty repair caused by a crash.
KRQE News 13 first reported in January how speeding drivers are banging into the walls of the new flyover. Now, NMDOT says a speeding driver has damaged a concrete barrier so badly that it needs to be swapped out.
The repairs will begin Monday around 9 p.m. It’s forcing NMDOT to close down Paseo Del Norte’s I-25 northbound exit, along with the frontage road at Pino Avenue. The concrete barrier dividing the frontage road and the freeway is supposed to last for decades.
“Had this barrier not been there that car would have gone straight on to the interstate,” said Melissa Dosher, a spokesman for NMDOT.
The damaged concrete divider has some major cracks in it after a driver plowed head-on into the barrier on Saturday, Feb. 1. NMDOT says the driver, who was killed in the crash, was doing 65 mph when he hit the wall. Albuquerque Police believe alcohol also played a role.
Crews now have to take a 70-foot chunk of that one-foot thick concrete wall and replace it.
That’s not all of the damage surrounding the new Paseo interchange though. On Monday, KRQE News 13’s camera also caught a lot of new scuffs along the new flyover. In the last month, one driver lost a bucket of paint which splashed on the side of the overpass like a Jackson Pollock painting. Even the barriers on the Paseo and Front Road intersection are dinged up.
Lots of drivers blame speeding as the reason for the marks. KRQE News 13’s radar gun caught some drivers heading through the Paseo exit Monday going as fast as 74 mph, almost double the speed limit.
“Careless people,” said Thomas Serventi, who drove the flyover on Monday.
“It’s my first time on it, I think people speed through there,” said Ron Sanchez, an Albuquerque driver.
“For a brand new bridge it’s like, you know, it’s this destruction derby out there. I mean, you know, there has to be something done about people and the speed. It’s just gotten a little ridiculous,” said Albuquerque driver Monty Demichele.
NMDOT says while the crash scuff marks might look bad, they haven’t damaged anything to the point of repair. However, the frontage road barrier is in need of a fix. That barrier repair at I-25 and Pino Avenue will be repaired from 9 p.m. to until Tuesday morning’s commute.
NMDOT says it doesn’t know how much the repair will cost yet. The work should be complete after another fix on Monday, Feb. 23.