I-40 opened after brief shutdown

After a four hour closure I-40 was re-opened Friday allowing motorists to continue westbound to Albuquerque.

The interstate was first closed at 10 a.m., from mile marker 239 to 329, which is from Tucumcari to the Torrance county line, said New Mexico State Police Lt. Robert McDonald.

McDonald said at that time, I-40 was snow packed and icy and there was poor visibility due to blowing snow. He said motorists were urged to seek an alternate route.

As a precaution, Tucumcari Fire Chief Mike Cherry, said an emergency shelter was being set up at the National Guard Armory at 1200 South Eleventh St.

“We contacted most of the hotels, who reported they were near capacity,” Cherry said.

Cherry said there were motorists lined up along I-40 and Route 66. He said if the interstate was not reopened they would be prepared to house those stranded.

“We will keep the shelter on stand-by,” Cherry said, “in the event I-40 is shut down later tonight.”