Carlsbad brine well work expected to impact businesses | KOB 4

Carlsbad brine well work expected to impact businesses

Casey Torres
April 24, 2018 06:28 PM

CARLSBAD, N.M. — Motorists driving on a major highway through Carlsbad might notice a sign saying the road 1,000 feet ahead is subject to a sinkhole.


Since 2008, residents have known the Carlsbad brine well could one day collapse. Javier Perez, a Carlsbad resident, said businesses are already hurting from the possibility of a collapse.

He said people will try to avoid driving through the collapse zone, himself included. In turn, businesses nearby miss out on customers. When construction to remediate the well begins, Perez said it will only get worse.

"It's going to be chaos because this is the main road and all businesses use the main road just to go in and out of the town," Perez said. "So with these detours, it's going to bring chaos."

A firm named Amec Foster Wheeler has studied the brine well for five years. Last week, the firm signed a $43.9 million contract to remediate the brine well. The price still needs to be finalized once the company completes their plans.

"They are a renowned worldwide engineering company that has particular expertise in this area. They have remediated similar top salt mines around the world in the past," said Ken McQueen, cabinet secretary of the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department.

"So at the end of the day, we felt like they were the best company to choose for remediation of this well," he continued.

Businesses near the U.S. Highways 285 and 62/180 might need temporary relocation for the engineering company to gather further information. McQueen said the Department of Transportation will help minimize the disruption of the traffic flow around the construction site.

Perez said he knows it will be a temporary inconvenience, but a necessary one for the safety of everyone.

The full-scale remediation construction is expected to begin in February 2019.


Casey Torres

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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