Eastbound I-40 closed for next two nights near Gallup

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Crews will repair and close eastbound I-40 for the next two nights in western New Mexico, the state’s Department of Transportation says.

The closure will go from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., from Exit 16 in west Gallup to Exit 44 at Coolidge, Monday and Tuesday night. This won’t affect westbound traffic.

The reason for the closure? Officials say potholes.

The McKinley County Sheriff’s Department says they’ve caused crashes, irreparable damage to cars, and all the weather we’ve been getting lately is only making things worse.

“Potholes are just forming like you wouldn’t believe,” said NMDOT spokesperson Delane Baros. 

Forcing multiple closures of I-40 this past winter. But, instead of another band-aid, NMDOT is fixing the problem once and for all with two back-to-back nights of work.

“Make it a smoother surface and a newer surface so that these potholes, you know, won’t be recurring,” said Baros. 

In the meantime, they’re warning late-night travelers to hunker down in Gallup because there will not be any detours during work hours.

“We’ll have deputies roving, making sure that barricades stay up or working with drivers. We’ll also be manning a checkpoint at Exit 26 to allow local– local traffic to use the Frontage Road so that they can get to the communities that are affected just east of Gallup,” said McKinley County Sheriff James Maiorano. 

Even though message boards in Arizona have carried a warning for travelers west of Gallup through the weekend, one local hotel operator is still preparing to help those who didn’t get the memo.

“It’s concerning for these people that may have already left either Flagstaff for Albuquerque, and there’s really no in between,” said Anna Connell, operations team with Medallion Hospitality. “We’re gonna have snacks available tonight for those people that are kind of caught off guard.”

Connell overlooks the Holiday Inn Express and Marriott Towneplace Suites in east Gallup.

She says it’s not uncommon for I-40 to shut down, leaving travelers stranded. So, she’s grateful for a heads-up this time around.

“We’ve called all of the arrivals that we already have reservations for, and let them know the situation and ask them if they’re going to make it to Gallup by nine o’clock tonight and encourage them to get on the road so that way, they’re not they’re not stuck in this,” said Connell. 

She says hotel reservations in Gallup are going fast, so she encourages travelers to plan ahead and book their rooms now.

For more traffic updates, live and anytime, visit the KOB 4 Traffic page.