DOT requests millions of dollars to improve safety on I-40

New Mexico

GRANTS, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s a stretch of I-40 known for bad crashes and head-on collisions. Now, the Department of Transportation is asking the feds for millions of dollars to make six miles of it a lot safer.

It’s a highly traveled stretch of I-40 between Mesita and Laguna. In 2015, there were 23 crashes, four of those were deadly.

The stretch of road is only one problem area along I-40 between Albuquerque and Arizona. In fact, the Cibola County Sheriff’s Office says it’s responded to 118 crashes along I-40 this year alone.

McKinley County also sees its share of interstate closures from crashes. Just this week, State Police responded to a deadly head-on collision near Grants after a semi crossed the median.

Now, the DOT is asking the feds for $14.5 million to widen the inside shoulders from Mesita to Laguna, a six-mile stretch between Albuquerque and Grants.

“With the high number of crashes, there’s no area to really detour traffic,” says Delane Baros, a spokesperson for New Mexico DOT District 6.

They also want to replace the cable barriers with concrete walls, preventing head-on collisions.

Right now, traffic engineers are still in the design phase of the project. They say if the money is approved, they hope to start construction in 2021.

The DOT expects the finished project to cost about $27 million.

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