GALLUP, NM – An accident and ongoing construction have disrupted traffic yet again on Wednesday.

West of I-40 is much clearer than this morning, but construction about 20 miles outside of Gallup is still causing a backlog of traffic in the eastbound lanes.

“They’re replacing a bridge and the interstate has been reduced to one lane, and as people try to climb that big hill, just east of where you’re sitting now, they’re having a hard time getting up that hill in the icy conditions. And then it goes from three lanes of eastbound traffic to one for the construction zone,” said Sheriff James Maiorano of the McKinley County Sheriff’s Office.

Construction isn’t the only thing holding up traffic on this stretch of highway. The McKinley County sheriff says a truck became entangled in wires between the east and west lanes near the New Mexico-Arizona border.

“We are seeing gridlock on Interstate 40 from the eight mile marker near the Arizona state line to the west side of Gallup. There are about eight or nine miles of backup where traffic is completely stopped,” Maiorano said.

This is just the latest of 20 accidents along the Grants-Gallup corridor since Sunday.

“The vast majority of these collisions are traffic related involving four-wheelers or semi-trucks. However, we have had no major injuries and no fatalities over the weekend. That’s a great thing,” Maiorano said.

The sheriff attributes the poor road conditions in recent days to heavy traffic in the area. Higher elevations, large hills, and bridges already cause problems for drivers without the added problems of ice and snow.

The New Mexico Department of Transportation says it has more than a dozen crews working around the clock to keep roads clear between Grants and Gallup.

“I think the only challenge is just having back-to-back storms. I mean, you know, as soon as they clean it up, here comes another one and it completely covers the roads. So, that’s a challenge, the amount of traffic on I-40 is a challenge, and of course these winds and temperatures aren’t helping at all,” said Delane Baros of NMDOT District 6.