An ancient road system focusing on the Anasazi community in Chaco Canyon and other sites in the Four Corners region testify to the advanced cultures that occupied what is now New Mexico several thousand years ago. The first road constructed after the arrival of Europeans was El Camino Real, traveled by the Spanish in the 1600s along the Río Grande from northern Mexico to Santa Fe. The Santa Fe Trail became a common trading route from St. Louis, Missouri, to Santa Fe in the early 1800s, following the routes blazed by French and English trappers. Subsequently, the trail became a major route for wagon trains moving westward from the 1830s to the 1870s. By the first decades of the 20th century, a national highway (eventually named Route 66) linking Chicago with Los Angeles snaked its way across New Mexico.
These historical corridors are still followed today, but most use the original roadbeds only in part. New Mexico had 109,981 km (68,339 mi) of highways in 2007, including 1,609 km (1,000 mi) of the federal interstate highway system. The principal east-west route is Interstate 40; the main north-south route is Interstate 25.
Railroads entered New Mexico in the 1880s upon completion of the Raton Tunnel. Tracks spread rapidly for the next 30 years, linking agricultural and mining centers throughout the state with markets in both the eastern and western United States coasts. While many of the spur lines built during this period have since been abandoned, active transcontinental freight and passenger lines still cross New Mexico.
In 2004 the state had 2,741 km (1,703 mi) of railroad track. Coal accounts for 72 percent of the tonnage of goods shipped by rail in New Mexico.
New Mexico had 10 airports in 2009, many of them private airfields. The airport in Albuquerque, the state’s busiest, handled 3.3 million passengers in 1996. Feeder services link many other population centers. "New Mexico" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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