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U.S. 550 almost done

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FOR THE RECORD: This column contained inconsistent day and date information for paving work that will close the bridge from Placitas to Bernalillo over Interstate 25. The New Mexico Highway Department has since decided it will move the project to June 27-29, the weekend after a large soccer tournament in Bernalillo, and leave a single westbound lane open on the bridge during the project.

U.S. 550 CLOSE TO THE FINISH LINE: The much-delayed interchange reconstruction is almost complete.

But there’s one more major bump in the proverbial road.

Next week, there will be overnight ramp closures – from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Tuesday for northbound, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Wednesday for southbound – for final paving, according to a news release. On Thursday through Saturday nights, from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., 550 between N.M. 313 and Interstate 25 will have various double lane closures, and 313 will have various lane closures Saturday evening.

Phil Gallegos, who handles information for the New Mexico Department of Transportation’s District 3 office, says this final layer, known in the industry as OGFC or Open Grade Friction Course, provides for a smoother ride and sheds water to prevent hydroplaning.

Motorists are “now driving on plain asphalt,” he explains. They have also been dealing with a $323 million project to widen and rebuild the interchange that was supposed to be completed by Nov. 6.

And next weekend, the real closures start.

Gallegos says on June 20 – that’s next Saturday – the bridge across the interstate will be closed so crews can seal the bridge deck.

As in totally closed. For three days.

Drivers on the Placitas/east side who want to go south will have to go to north on I-25 to Algodones and flip a U-turn.

Drivers on the Bernalillo/west side who want to go north will have to either go south and flip a U-turn or take 313 to Algodones and get on I-25 there.

The good news, Gallegos says, is “This is it.” After next weekend “just striping will be left” to complete the project.

Assistant editorial page editor D’Val Westphal tackles commuter issues for the Metro area on Mondays and West Siders and Rio Ranchoans on Saturdays. Reach her at 823-3858; road@abqjournal.com; P.O. Drawer J, Albuquerque, N.M. 87103; or go to ABQjournal.com/traffic to read previous columns and join in the conversation.

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