Winter weather causes severe driving conditions in northern New Mexico

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LAS VEGAS, N.M. (KRQE) – Interstate 25 north of Santa Fe is an icy mess. The New Mexico Department of Transportation is warning drivers about severe driving conditions across northern New Mexico.

The snow started falling Thursday afternoon and hasn’t stopped. Department of Transportation workers say drivers out on the roads are taking big risks Thursday night.

“High rate of speed, that’s our biggest issue right now is driving too fast,” said Department of Transportation Manager Richard Garcia.

The snow picked up just after 3 p.m. Thursday afternoon.

What should have been a three hour drive for KRQE News 13 crews to Las Vegas, NM turned into a nearly five hour drive because of low visibility on the road past Glorieta Pass.

Six crews in the area between Glorieta and Bernal say they are in constant rotation. Crews have also been loading up with salt and cinder mixture that they have been layering all day, but they say at this point it doesn’t matter how much of it they lay down. They say Thursday night’s temperatures are just going to make matters worse.

“Everything has turned to black ice, the temps have froze up on us, to about nine degrees, the guys have been at it plowing and salting trying to keep up with the traffic,” said Garcia.

Garcia says his crews are even having to pull over to clean off their equipment while they’re on the highways. That’s how fast the snow is falling.

No roads have been closed so far. New Mexico State Police have to make that call.

However, DOT officials are asking drivers to slow down on the interstate and if at all possible stay home.

Along I-40 it’s bad around Tucumcari. Roads are icy, there’s heavy snow and visibility is poor. I-25 is icy north of Santa Fe. Cars also keep spinning out on the ice along the Raton Pass. It’s treacherous up there with at least eight inches of snow on the ground.

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