TIJERAS, N.M. (KRQE) - Drivers say it is hectic and downright dangerous, now the state department of transportation is planning to fix an interchange along Old Route 66.
"It gets pretty hairy and it doesn't even have to be bad weather just a little bit of traffic, more than we're used to and people kind of go nuts," said Driver Arthur Wisniewski.
Even for the most experienced of drivers, the intersection at Highway 333, or old Route 66 and New Mexico 217 can be intimidating.
"Traffic gets backed up pretty bad during rush hour especially with the school buses trying to make a turn so people get real impatient apparently cause there's no turn lanes obviously," Wisniewski said.
That though is about to change.
The New Mexico Department of Transportation has a $1.3 million fix in the works.
"What we'll do is add a couple of additional left turn lanes in each direction eastbound and westbound," said NMDOT Spokesperson Phil Gallegos.
Tuesday evening the state held a community meeting to fill people in on the plans for the interchange.
The goal of the turn lanes is to make the interchange safer.
Gallegos told News 13 there have been 13 crashes over the last five years at the interchange.
"A lot of it is a result of people waiting to turn off of 333 causing a back up and then people get impatient and then before you know it its a recipe for somebody to get over anxious and something go wrong," Gallegos said.
NMDOT said the turn lanes will ease the back-ups on 333 allowing traffic to flow which Gallegos said should drive down crash numbers.
Drivers KRQE News 13 spoke with think its about time.
"I mean right now what we've got in place isn't working, apparently we have a high rate of accidents so any solution, any proactive measures are better than nothing I would think," said Wisniewski.
The Department of Transportation said at this point they think the turn lanes should be enough although if the East Mountains continue to grow, a stop light might be an option in the future.
The project should start sometime around August, the funding is from a federal grant.
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