EL PASO, Texas — Two separate closures closed down two parts of I-10 Wednesday. The first was an emergency road closure on the east side to give Texas Department of Transportation crews time to repair some of the roadway. The second is part of the Go10 project on the west side.
On the east side, I-10 westbound will be closed from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m. between the Lee Trevino exit ramp and the Lomaland entrance ramp. That closure will last through Thursday. Drivers will be forced to get off of the highway at Lee Trevino and then reenter at Lomaland.
“It's a big undertaking because it's across all the lanes of this one and they have to carefully hammer out the damaged concrete and then replace it with fresh, quick-setting concrete,” said TXDoT spokeswoman Jennifer Wright.
Wright said three things cause the roadway to crumble: age, wear and tear and weather elements like rain.
“You get water in there and the temperature goes from freezing to above freezing and that's highly destructive because, as you know, water freezes and expands and that will break apart any surface,” Wright said.
Wright said TXDoT crews will have to work quickly in order to cover the amount of highway that needs repair in the two nights they have been given to complete it.
“There's also a bit of a challenge in using that quick setting cement. They have to be right there with it. It starts to set so quickly so they have to be able to work quickly and have the material on hand right there. So it's kind of a big operation,” Wright said.
The west side closure, however, was planned ahead of time. This closure will be on I-10 westbound from the North Mesa exit ramp to the North Mesa entrance ramp. That will be happening through Thursday from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. each day.
I-10 eastbound in that same area will also have the left lane closed off to drivers.
“They're preparing to install girders for the steel overhang for that bridge,” Wright said. “You're going to see at Mesa at the interchange construction going on in three phases and this is still part of phase 1 where they are creating the bridge in the center span. Then eventually when they go to work on the eastbound or westbound lanes, they will steer traffic in whichever direction they are working on into the center span.”
This will avoid the hassle of having to detour people off of the highway during construction.
Upper Valley resident Nelson Arroyo told KFOX14 he’s gotten stuck in the Go10 construction quite a bit.
“I'm using Transmountain a lot, that's for sure, and that helps out quite a bit. But I mean when there's accidents on I-10 with all this construction and the closures it can take an hour or an hour and a half for something that should be a 20-minute ride,” said Arroyo.
Despite this, he is hopeful that the construction will be beneficial to the city in the long run.
“So far how it looks, it looks like it's going to be great for us. If we have four lanes instead of three or two that we've been using, that would be really awesome,” Arroyo said.
But semi-truck driver Darrell Youngblood says El Paso is pretty bad when it comes to traffic.
“Driving through El Paso is not like any other place because there's a lot of cars, a lot of traffic and it's a lot of hassle just going through El Paso from Anthony to the other side to get through,” Youngblood said.
He said driving a big rig through construction and detours can be difficult.
“It's a little hectic. But if you make sure that you follow all of the detour signs and slow down and take your time and watch the traffic and everybody follows the rules then it's OK,” he said.
I-10 will see another closure on the west side from Jan. 15-17 from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. each night. That closure will be on I-10 west at the Sunland Park exit ramp. Drivers will be forced to get off the highway at Sunland Park and then re-enter it just before Sunland Park Drive.
From Jan. 16-19, I-10 west will be reduced to one lane between the Sunland Park Overpass and the North Mesa Underpass. I-10 east during those days will be completely closed at the North Mesa exit ramp. Drivers will be detoured onto Doniphan Drive and then will be able to re-enter at Sunland Park Drive.
“We are witnessing the modernization of our freeway system here on the west side and so we're just going to put up with this for a few more months or several more months and will be seeing brand new highways,” Wright said.