Stretch of mountain highway proves dangerous

TIJERAS, N.M. (KRQE) – An overturned semi caused a major backup Tuesday morning.

It happened on a stretch of highway that’s been known for some pretty devastating wrecks.

The road near Tijeras is clear now, but it took a while for workers to lift the heavy semi load out of the way.

It happened in the early morning hours on Highway 337 south of Tijeras.

Bernalillo County sheriff’s deputies say a semi trying to make a hard turn completely tipped over and got hung up on a guard rail.

Before 5 a.m., workers said they’d have the scene cleared in a couple hours, but the semi was so heavy, crews had a hard time lifting it out of the roadway, causing a heavy traffic jam.

No one was injured in this case.

Similar accidents have happened on this same stretch of road. There are two hard turns on 337 south of the Sandia Ranger Station.

In 2012, a gravel truck flipped, spilled its load and caused a major mess, blocking both directions.

That crash forced school buses to take an hour long detour.

Two months later, two motorcycles were speeding in the same area when one lost control and hit a guardrail. The rider, who was wearing a helmet, was killed.

There are several warning signs in that area telling drivers to slow their speed. Investigators say in all three of those recent crashes, speed was a factor.

Because Highway 337 winds through the mountain, there is no way for the highway department to soften those turns.

They have put up additional warning signs over the years to try to prevent these crashes.

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