ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQ) – It’s a loud and slow process driving past CNM. Eastbound Coal Avenue between University and Buena Vista has been reduced to one lane during a big Water Authority project, and it has drivers seeing red.
“There’s been jams there. We have to wait for about 20 minutes, sometimes 10 minutes. It’s ridiculous,” CNM student Tawfiq Musleh said.
Since March, the Water Authority has been rehabbing a mile of a 56-year-old, large-diameter sewer pipeline.
“Because of the length of the pipe that has to be replaced, it’s taking a while,” Water Authority Public Affairs Manager David Morris said.
Crews are using trenchless technology to reline the sewer pipe, working through the manholes, which they say is minimizing the inconvenience on drivers.
“There will be a far smaller chance of a major collapse that could end up closing down the whole road,” Morris said.
KRQE News 13 reported in June when drivers in the same area were upset about cones being up, but with no construction workers in sight.
At the time, the Water Authority said it was because the contractor had an emergency elsewhere, and they left the cones up because they found a surprise water leak. However, the Water Authority said they later found out that wasn’t the case after all.
“They were getting ready to do work and as it turned out, they thought it was a leak because they found some water of unknown origin. They brought in leak detection equipment,” Morris explained.
The Water Authority said, overall, this project is on track to be finished on schedule this month, a relief to many people.
“We have to take alternate routes just to get here and it can make us late to school,” Musleh said.
The Water Authority expects the work to be done by Aug. 23.
Nearby work to repair the manholes on Avenida Cesar Chavez between University and I-25 should also be done by the end of the month.