Authorities shuttered both directions of Interstate 25 at the Raton Pass on Friday evening as heavy snowstorms and low visibility hit the area.
The New Mexico State Police announced the closure on Twitter around 5:45 p.m. and said I-25 was shut down between milepost 452 to the Colorado border “due to inclement weather and unsafe driving conditions.”
“No estimation on length of closure,” State Police said. “Avoid area.”
The agency advised travelers to check NMRoads for closure updates.
Raton Pass, a curvy, hilly section of Interstate 25 through the mountains on the New Mexico-Colorado border, is the most direct route for travelers heading to Denver and Colorado Springs from most areas of New Mexico. Winter storms have occasionally forced the closure of the pass in previous years.
Earlier Friday the National Weather Service in Albuquerque advised travelers to delay their trips through Raton as the winter storm bore down.
Officials said the storm was expected to last through Saturday morning, bringing heavy snow and blowing snow to the northeast corner of New Mexico.
“We can’t stress this enough,” the agency wrote, referring to the severity of the storm’s impacts. “… Consider delaying your trip if traveling through Raton Pass on I-25 or along US Hwy 64/87 between Raton and Clayton.”
The National Weather Service is predicting 4 to 12 inches of snow in the area, along with smaller amounts accumulating throughout much of the northern half of the state.
By mid-afternoon, snow had begun to blow through the west and north edges of the state. Traffic cameras accessed through the New Mexico Department of Transportation showed areas of Interstate 40 near Gallup covered in a blanket of snow, with limited visibility on the roads.