I-25 barrier wall near the Sunport takes a beating

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It’s one of the first things people leaving the Albuquerque International Sunport see and many say it’s both an eyesore and a safety hazard.

“Of course it would look much better if it were not cracking and falling apart,” said Stephanie Kitts, spokesperson for the Sunport.

Kitts is talking about the concrete barrier wall drivers see when they are taking a right-hand turn onto northbound I-25 after leaving the Sunport.

The wall has clearly taken a beating.

“I think it’s clear it’s been hit multiple times by vehicles,” said Kitts.

The speed limit leading up to the onramp is 25 mph, but officials say drivers frequently speed and come into the sharp right-hand turn onto the interstate too fast. That causes some drivers to crash into the barrier wall.

The once pink wall is marked up with black tire marks. There are also huge cracks, some large enough to see through, along the wall.

Kitts says it gives people a bad first impression of Albuquerque.

“Most people that arrive are going north into Albuquerque or Santa Fe and it’s one of the first things people see when they’re getting out of the Sunport and onto the freeway,” said Kitts.

Recently, huge chunks of the concrete wall have started to slide down the hill below. At the bottom of that hill, is interstate traffic.

“If one of the cement hits the car the people inside the cars could get hurt,” said Sunport traveler, Evy.

The New Mexico Department of Transportation owns the concrete barrier wall. 

A spokesperson for the department, Kimberly Gallegos, says despite how bad it looks, the wall is not dangerous.

Gallegos told KRQE News 13 that the wall is still strong enough to stop a speeding vehicle. She also says the department is not worried about the fallen pieces of concrete, saying the department doesn’t believe they will slide any further toward traffic.

Gallegos says all of the fallen concrete will be removed during repairs to the wall, which she says will happen this summer.

Although, Gallegos says, at this point, NMDOT has no plans to change this onramp to make it safer for drivers.

Gallegos says they will work with Sunport officials to add more signage to warn drivers of a sharp turn ahead.

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