EB lanes of Interstate 40 near Arizona-New Mexico line reopen after train derailment caused closure

Apr 28, 2024, 3:48 PM | Updated: 4:06 pm

PHOENIX — The eastbound lanes of Interstate 40 reopened on Sunday after a freight train derailment caused a dayslong shutdown, authorities said.

Authorities shut down long stretches of I-40 near the Arizona-New Mexico state line on Friday after a derailed freight train carrying fuel caught fire.

The Arizona Department of Transportation announced the reopening of the eastbound lanes between mileposts 285-333 on Saturday night.

However, eastbound I-40 lanes remained closed in Chambers at milepost 333.

It was only on Sunday afternoon that ADOT announced the eastbound I-40 lanes had reopened at all mileposts.

Motorists should expect long delays through the area, ADOT said.

What caused the freight train derailment near the Arizona-New Mexico state line?

Around 35 rail cars were involved in the freight train derailment, according to the McKinley County Fire Rescue Department, which is in New Mexico. Of those, around half a dozen carried non-odorous propane and had caught fire.

Evacuations were put in place for residents within a two-mile radius of the derailment site. The traffic closure was set in place “in the best interest of the traveling public.”

Constant air quality tests were performed around the site. They didn’t indicate any concerns, authorities said.

Crews used heavy machinery to remove debris. Firefighters and personnel in hazmat suits controlled fire growth and prevented the release of hazardous materials, according to McKinley County Fire Rescue.

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EB lanes of Interstate 40 near Arizona-New Mexico line reopen after train derailment caused closure