However, officials said keeping the path along I-40 clean comes with major challenges.
“It’s scary, you know, when you’re in one of these tunnels, and it’s completely black,” said bicyclist Brian Hart.
Bicyclists who use the I-40 bike trail going east say it’s almost unpassable. They describe the tunnels near Eubank and Juan Tabo as being full of trash, graffiti, and drug paraphernalia.
Brian Hart said he’s been using the trail for years, and with his car in the shop this week, he had no choice but to use his bike to commute. He said he’s never seen it this bad.
“There was some excrement on the ground. There was, there were needles,” he recalled. “Two people were in there, and it’s a little horrifying because you don’t know if they’re even alive.”
Hart said there was so much broken glass on the route that he ended up with a flat tire and had to walk the rest of the way. He even said it’s usually an hour bike ride, but it turned into a two-and-a-half-hour walk in the snow back to Carnuel.
This part of the bike trail is managed by the New Mexico Department of Transportation. They said this area is a hotspot for vandalism, and they are constantly doing cleanup and repairs.
They say whenever there is hazardous waste, such as in this case, they must wait for teams with the right equipment from the state or the city, and that can take time. However, no matter how often they address the problems, the mess comes right back.
Hart says he would like to see more done to keep the routes clean.
“You know, the last thing I want to do is cast a bad light on these folks who don’t have a place to sleep, but you know, there’s better places than a thoroughfare,” explained Hart.
DOT said they meet with the city every week to review areas of concern. They are working on, once again, getting it cleaned up as soon as possible.