ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – There have been dozens of crashes on I-40 and Coors since construction started this summer, according to New Mexico State Police. Now, the company in charge of the project has hired officers to patrol the area.
“It’s just bottlenecked and it’s just ridiculous,” said John Mondragon.
“It has been extremely inconvenient,” said Layla Nugali.
“It’s definitely an issue at this point,” said Raquel Sandoval.
During rush hour in Albuquerque, I-40 and Coors is packed.
“You’re going forward, stop, forward, stop,” said Mondragon.
“Bumper to bumper,” said Sandoval. “It takes me 15 minutes to get to the first exit of the freeway and by that point I’m just trying to get off and take the back roads.”
About 150,000 cars pass through the construction zone everyday.
“I have seen so many close calls, it’s not even funny,” said Mondragon.
The company in charge of the five month long repaving project, Mountain States Constructors, has hired State Police to camp out at the site. The goal is to slow down drivers and respond to crashes fast.
“An accident can actually be recognized right away,” said Robert Murillo.
Monday through Friday, officers are parked at the construction zone from 6 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 7 p.m.
On average, police said they respond to about four crashes at the site during those shifts.
“You have got people trying to get on the other side of the highway, people on that side of the highway trying to get this way. It’s crazy,” said Mondragon.
Officers said they also hand out about ten aggressive driving tickets during the shifts as well.
Drivers said they are thankful police are doing what they can to make the roads safer, but are ready for the construction to finish.
“It’s just a mess. If I don’t have to be there, I won’t be,” said Mondragon.
The officers who are hired to patrol the area are working overtime.
The construction company is paying for it, so it doesn’t cost taxpayers anything.
State Police said it charges the company $60 dollars an hour for the service.