ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Department of Transportation is trying to shoo away the homeless and vandals from a bridge over I-40 by making it more dangerous.
From the pedestrian bridge over I-40 near Coors, to the maintenance bridge underneath, vandals keep leaving their mark.
“They take care of it pretty quick. This is the first I’ve seen of this, this wasn’t here the other day,” said pedestrian Jessica Lujan.
If they aren’t tagging the area, DOT officials said trespassers use the bridge as shelter.
“There is a lot of graffiti on the bridge and there is also a concern about the gas line and homeless living here and actually building fires near the structure,” said Thomas Kratochvil, NMDOT Assistant District Engineer.
To keep intruders from getting up there, crews are doing away with about 40 feet of a grated walkway from each side.
“It will do two things, it will make it more difficult for people to actually access the maintenance structure and they will have to actually climb on the open pipe,” Kratochvil said.
The New Mexico Gas Company and the Water Authority, which have pipes that run under the bridge, are helping NMDOT pay for the project.
“I’m just happy something is going to get done about it, it’s not something that is very good for any area in the city,” said pedestrian Joe Pino.
Monday, they started removing the fencing.
“They have been cut numerous times and when our forces fixed it as soon as we were leaving the people cut it the very same day,” Kratochvil said.
Once the fence is gone, the walkway below will be removed.
“We understand that there will be potential for people to still break in, however, we have high hopes that this will deter 89 percent of the problem we have in this area,” Kratochvil said.
It will take about two weeks to remove the walkway and fence. Once that’s done, utility crews will access the lines and the remaining walkway using a hydraulic lift, or a cherry picker.