EL PASO, Texas (CBS4/KFOX14) — Sunland Park and Interstate 10 will look a little different over the next five months. As ofMonday, drivers have to get used to some major changes.
"This is the hardest part of this job. We knew it was coming," said Texas Department of Transportation spokesperson Jennifer Wright. "We've kind of headed into the home stretch of this job. But these are the worst situations that we will probably have to deal with on this job."
TxDOT said Sunland Park is the most complicated intersection in the entire GO 10 project. This isn't necessarily a closure. It's a five-month traffic reconfiguration.
Crews have to take down the old Sunland Park overpass and the old flyover bridge, and rebuild the Sunland Park overpass. As of Monday morning, drivers can take the new flyover bridge onto I-10 East. For drivers who wants to come down Sunland Park Drive and get onto I-10 West, it's a free right turn. Exiting I-10 at Sunland Park Drive is also a free right turn. If you're turning left to head toward Doniphan, you'll be driving on the new future U-turn lane.
"The difference now is that there is only one lane that's westbound on Sunland Park (Drive) headed toward the valley. So, if you are just using Sunland Park (Drive) as a through street, to get from Coronado to the valley, you probably want to rethink that and try an alternate route," Wright said. "You can still access all of the shopping now for the entire five months. Every movement you used to do in traffic, you will still be able to do. But now we've switched traffic onto one of the new U-turn bridges. So there's two lanes eastbound now and one lane westbound on that overpass."
"It is a hassle,. I have to leave way earlier, wake up way earlier, it's just always a problem,” said Arturo Gomez, who lives in the neighborhood near Sunland Park and I-10.
"I try to stay off of Sunland Park as much as I can, and I don't drive on I-10. Period,” said Jim Wells, who also lives in the neighborhood near Sunland Park and I-10.
To demolish the old overpass and flyover, there will be a 57-hour closure this weekend as crews take out the steel beams from the old flyover bridge.
"Those (steel beams) will be cut into 30-foot sections as they are being taken down. So they'll have welders up there cutting them and they will pick them off with the crane,” Wright said. “That's the reason we have that 57-hour closure coming up this weekend that will be very disruptive to traffic. But there's no good way to do this."
I-10 will be closed in both directions at Sunland Park.
"The detour will be get off at Sunland Park and get back on at Sunland Park. It's going to cause congestion because traffic will have to be narrowed down to one lane to get off,” Wright explained.
TxDOT recommends you take Executive to Paisano or Mesa to Doniphan.
"Except while the Braden Aboud race is going on. We're going to allow traffic to make a left just from 4:30 in the morning to about 10 a.m.,” Wright said.
TxDOT is looking to have all of the drivable areas complete by Black Friday and the entire project finished by the end of this year.
“That’s accelerated from the original completion date that was forecast for April 2019. So it’s ripping the Band-Aid off more quickly to get through it,” Wright said.