Homeless camp under I-40 causes big concern for drivers

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Drivers looking up as they go under Interstate 40 are worried someone could fall down on them.

A new homeless camp has popped up, and people say it’s a matter of time before it causes a crash.

Right under I-40 at the intersection of Indian School and First Street, homeless people have put crates across the beams then put their mattresses on top.

Now drivers are worried it’s not going to hold.

“It is very dangerous for people going under there and for those people that are up there,” said Vickie Early Bezziz, Albuquerque resident.

Homeless people have made an I-40 overpass right over First Street their new home.

“People are always going to try to find a way to make shelter for themselves,” said William Veeder, Albuquerque resident.

However, it has some of those who commute in the area worried.

“The crates can fall on you. The debris can fall into the street and damage your vehicle. Lots of damage can be done especially for someone who is walking,” Bezziz said.

Others are worried about the location.

“I mean, there are definitely safer parts of the city that you can construct some sort of shelter, but they seem to be kicked out of other areas so maybe they are looking for a place someone isn’t going to ask them to move,” Veeder said.

Tucked away and almost hidden, some drivers wouldn’t even notice it, while others are far too familiar with the transient population the area attracts.

“Well, we moved in 2007 and over the past seven years we have seen a big increase,” said Karen Salazar, who lives nearby.

Drivers are worried the crates are going to give and it has the city responding. The Albuquerque Police Department was called to the area and issued an eviction notice two days ago.

“As the summer gets hotter this will happen more and more, often under many different bridges, and we have to stay proactive and ensure we are as vigilant as we can with the resources we have,” said Gilbert Montano, Mayor Berry’s Chief of Staff.

Police will be back to the site on Thursday. If the camp isn’t gone, then citations will be given. APD will also remove the camp and help the people living there relocate.

The Department of Transportation also works with the City of Albuquerque to clean up areas around the interstates about three times a month.

 

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