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Alert: Transportation secretary announces highway crews prepared as winter storm hits New Mexico

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By Special to the Monitor

SANTA FE – State Transportation Secretary Gary L.J. Girón announced today that highway crews have been out in full force as a series of winter storms hit portions of North, West and Central New Mexico. 

“As more winter weather rolls into the New Mexico this week, the NMDOT will continue to coordinate snow-removal operations with State Police and other law enforcement agencies to ensure timely and accurate information is available to our residents and the traveling public,” Girón said.  

NMDOT maintenance crews in affected areas are currently on 12-hour shifts and will be for the duration of the storm. The maintenance patrol yards are stock piled with snow removal material that consists of mixtures of salt and cinders and equipment to remove snow, including dump trucks with snowplows and loaders. During a snowstorm, maintenance crews continue the process of applying salt and cinders and plowing snow off the roadway until the storm has passed and the snow and ice has melted off the roadway. 

The Department has identified common spots such as La Bajada Hill and Sedillo Hill along I-25 and I-40, as well as sections of U.S. 550 that tend to become icy and snow packed during winter storms. Crews will continue to pay close attention to those areas and will monitor the situation as additional winter weather comes into the state.

According to the National Weather Service, much of Central and Western New Mexico can expect accumulating snow through Wednesday. A third storm will move in on Thursday bringing additional snow, strong winds and colder temperatures. More than a foot of snow is expected in mountainous areas and several inches are forecasted for the Central and Western Valleys and across the Northwest Plateau.

“Because hazardous driving conditions are expected with this storm, the Department has also identified several turnaround points on I-40 and I-25 in the event the highways should be closed for safety reasons,” Girón said. “These turnaround points will help the DOT and law enforcement to safely move traffic off the interstates during severe storms. I urge motorists to use extreme caution and if you don’t have to get on the road, please stay home.” 

The Department’s Traffic Management Center in Albuquerque will be in operation around the clock throughout the storm. The center will monitor and update road conditions across the state. 

To find out more about roads in your area go to: www.nmroads.com or by calling the road advisory hotline at 511.