ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The crashes and closures on a stretch of I-40 west of Albuquerque seem to be constant. On Sunday, it was closed for hours because of a crash that killed two people. The latest crash happened about 7 miles west of the Route 66 casino on Sunday. The state says it’s aware of some issues there.
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“We are aware of accidents in the area but studies have shown that it is people getting on and off the highways, all the commercial vehicles, and people getting distracted,” New Mexico Department of Transportation Spokesperson Kim Gallegos stated.
In the past three years, News 13 has reported on nine crashes within just a few miles of the casino that killed six people and injured nine more. That’s just a sampling of all the crashes. Some of them involved semis. Others were huge pileups.
Gallegos said many crashes are due to driver inattention or speeding.
For now, the only plan in the works is repaving the westbound off-ramp from the casino, and about two miles of the westbound lanes near the casino.
“It is a heavily trafficked area because of the casino so just take your time. It is a scary, fast interstate,” Gallegos added.
That stretch has two lanes in each direction and no barriers, but NMDOT said there are no plans as of now to reconstruct it or widen I-40 west of Albuquerque. She adds NMDOT also won’t be putting a cable or cement barrier in the area because that’s only required when the median is narrower than 50 feet. This one is 90 feet wide.
The $4.6 million pavement work is expected to start in October. The eastbound lanes will follow, pending the weather.