Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Construction Keeps Up to Date on Out-of-Date Big I.(Metro & New Mexico)

Byline: Road Warrior D'VAL WESTPHAL Of the Journal

WHY A NEW BIG I? Anybody who has been stuck on the Big I knows it needs to be rebuilt. But they might not know how much it needs to be rebuilt.

Built back in 1965, the $3.9 million Big I was designed to carry 40,000 vehicles a day and last 20 years.

Now it's 36 years later. It's a big no-duh that Albuquerque has grown.

The state highway department estimates the interchange will have to handle 400,000 vehicles each day of 2002. Increased traffic has pushed the Big I way past its shelf life.

Just check out the piers that hold the old overpasses. See the discoloration? Pete Rahn, the state's Highway and transportation secretary, says that's known in the construction biz as ASR, or alkaline-silica reactivity. …

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