Westbound I-40 drivers face 30-mile traffic jam

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A major traffic alert for holiday travelers – construction has led to major backups on I-40.

Chopper 4 flew over I-40 early Sunday and it showed that the back-up really begins in the westbound lane just east of Laguna.

On Saturday, Nov. 20, traffic stretched 30 miles from Laguna to the Route 66 Casino – semis were not moving at all, some folks even got out of their cars waiting for some movement.

“We both just said they are going to be sitting there for hours and hours, I’ve just never seen anything like that on this road not that big,” said Malia Adache.

KOB 4 reached out to the Department of Transportation to see if they will open up all lanes of traffic for Thanksgiving. On Sunday, they said barriers are going to stay up because this is an accelerated project. On Monday, NMDOT officials said they will be suspending a portion of the 5.5-mile construction project beginning Wednesday, Nov. 24 through Sunday, Nov. 28.

“We understand how frustrating it is for drivers to be stuck in traffic,” said Transportation Secretary Mike Sandoval. “We are accelerating the project to get it finished faster, so there is less impact over time to the traveling public. What would have taken 3 months, should take roughly 1 month. However, this was a perfect storm for significant backups due to the exact spot where the work is being done. Hills don’t mix well with heavy cargo. We want families to get to their Thanksgiving destinations safely, which is why we planned all along to open all lanes of traffic during the holiday. We sincerely appreciate everyone’s patience.”