Crews to clear interstate weeds ahead of Balloon Fiesta

Balloon Fiesta

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – Hundreds of thousands of visitors will be in Albuquerque in less than two weeks for Balloon Fiesta, but part of the trip to get there on the interstate isn’t too inviting.

The New Mexico Department of Transportation confirmed it’s received complaints this week about some stretches along I-25 and I-40 riddled with overgrown weeds.

“[They are] on I-40 near Juan Tabo and also we’re looking into areas on I-25 near the airport,” Kim Gallegos with NMDOT said.

The weeds can be seen peaking onto I-40 from the center medians and even inching over the nearby fences and walls, some said, for weeks.

“I mean, it’s sort of always like that,” Nico Lutz of Albuquerque stated.
Weeds are also covering the shoulders along I-25 north toward Balloon Fiesta Park.

“I think it’s the recent rain because our herbicide crews try to target that early so they don’t get to that point. But sometimes when they get out there and you know, you get tumbleweeds in the area and to mow over it, it spreads the seeds and before you know it, more weeds are growing,” Gallegos explained. “So, we’re just trying to tackle it and stay ahead of it.”

NMDOT added it sends spot crews and have regular maintenance and mowing in those areas three to four times a month.

Looking ahead to Balloon Fiesta, they are planning to send extra crews and are partnering with the city to help with the effort.

“We have about ten weed and little crews that are out daily cleaning up the weeds and litter along the I-40 and I-25 corridors,” Diane Wikler with the city’s Solid Waste Management Department said.

KRQE News 13 asked the city if it can cite the state for overgrown weeds like they do for Albuquerque homeowners. The planning department said even though the interstates are in the city, it does not have jurisdiction over federal or state-owned properties.

NMDOT said because of that weed complaint they received, crews will be cleaning up those specific areas on both interstates this week.

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