Interstate 40 or I -40 is an Interstate Highway in the U.S. state of New Mexico. The highway runs from Manuelito on the Arizona border through Albuquerque to Glenrio on the Texas border. The highway is 600 kilometers long.
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I-40 in western Albuquerque.
I-40 at the ‘Big I’ interchange in Albuquerque.
I-40 in Eastern New Mexico.
I-40 in Eastern New Mexico.
At Manuelito, Interstate 40 in Arizona enters the state of New Mexico. One passes through desert landscapes at 2000 meters altitude. One soon reaches Gallup, a city of 20,000 inhabitants. US 491 begins here, leading to Shiprock in the north. At the hamlet of Thoreau one crosses the Continental Divide, the watershed between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The highway then descends very slowly. One passes by the lava fields of Malpais, which is a national monument. One still passes through a spectacular desert landscape, and the ride is varied.
After 150 miles, you reach the city of Albuquerque, the state’s largest city, with a population of 555,000. With 2×4 lanes, the highway crosses the Rio Grande, and you pass the center. On the northeast side of downtown, it crosses Interstate 25, which runs to Las Cruces and El Paso to the south, and to Santa Fe and Denver to the north. This is New Mexico’s main hub. The highway here is called the Coronado Freeway. One then passes with 2×3 lanes through the eastern districts. Albuquerque doesn’t have that many suburbs, and the road network is built in a coarse grid pattern, with small residential streets. Then you enter the mountain area, and you leave the city.
After the short mountain area you pass through a plain, and at Clines Corners you cross US 285, which runs from Santa Fe to Roswell. The highway sometimes runs straight for tens of kilometers. At Santa Rosa you cross the US 84, which runs from Las Vegas, not to be confused with Las Vegas in Nevada, to Clovis in the east. Here you also cross the US 54, which comes from El Paso. US 54 then joins I-40 for a longer distance. The area is then dotted with Mesas, small plateaus that rise above the landscape. One then arrives at Tucumcari, a small town, where US 54 exits again, and heads north to Texasruns. It then passes through New Mexico for the last few miles, before crossing the Texas border at Glenrio, before continuing on Interstate 40 in Texas to Amarillo and Oklahoma City.
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The predecessor of I-40 in New Mexico was the famous US 66. I-40 follows US 66 a short distance everywhere and is mostly built over it. Few details are known about the completion of I-40, much of the highway was put into service in the early to mid-1960s, three-quarters of I-40 had already opened in 1967, with links missing at Gallup, near San Fidel, between Tijeras and Clines Corners, past Santa Rosa and from Tucumcari to the Texas border. The easternmost section was the longest missing section of I-40 at the time.
It was common in the Southwestern United States for small town bypasses to be built last, as they depended most on passers-by. By 1969 most of the missing links had been resolved, except at Gallup and Santa Rosa, and east of Tucumcari. These missing parts were not opened until the mid to late 1970s. Finally, the section between Tucumcari and San Jon in far eastern New Mexico opened in 1981.
The passage of I-40 through Albuquerque had 2×3 lanes prior to 1991 and was presumably constructed directly with 2×3 lanes. In the first half of the 1990s, the bridge over the Rio Grande was widened. Between 2000 and 2002, the interchange between I-25 and I-40 in Albuquerque was reconstructed, also known as the “Big I” and is New Mexico’s most important and busiest interchange. The traffic jams decreased by more than 90 percent after completion. As part of this project, connecting road sections of I-40 have also been widened to 2×4 lanes. Later, from 2005 to 2009, I-40 through eastern Albuqerque was widened to 2×4 lanes.
15,000 vehicles drive daily at the Arizona border, rising to 24,000 vehicles at Gallup. The route further to Albuquerque has about 20,000 to 25,000 vehicles per day. This is rising fast in western Albuquerque, from 55,000 vehicles in the western suburbs to 130,000 vehicles per day on the bridge over the Rio Grande. This increases to 150,000 vehicles west of the interchange with I-25 and 191,000 vehicles east of the interchange. This then drops to 75,000 vehicles on the east side of Albuquerque and 70,000 vehicles through the Tijeras Canyon after each connection. This drops to 25,000 vehicles on the east side of Tijeras and 15,000 vehicles to Santa Rosa and 17,000 vehicles to Tucumcari. The easternmost section to the Texas border has 14,000 vehicles per day.
|Exit 0||Exit 155||2×2|
|Exit 155||Exit 161||2×4||Albuquerque|
|Exit 161||Exit 175||2×3||Albuquerque|
|Exit 175||Exit 369||2×2|