ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque road project years in the making is finally complete. The roundabout at Candelaria and Rio Grande, an intersection know for a number of serious crashes, finally opened Saturday.
“I like the roundabouts,” driver Mary Goforth said. “I like the thought of them, but I don’t think a lot of people know how to use them in this state.”
People said they saw drivers speeding through the intersection Monday. KRQE News 13 spotted others hesitating when they had the right-of-way.
“A lot of hesitation or no hesitation going through,” Goforth said. “People are assuming they have the right of way to go through with no yielding. Some don’t have any lights indicating what direction they need to be going.”
While some drivers said the new traffic flow is causing a headache, City Councilor Isaac Benton said the change was necessary. “People were dying under the old configuration,” Benton said.
According to the Albuquerque Police Department, there were 30 crashes at the lighted intersection between 2015 and 2018. “The roundabout in and of itself does not stop speeding, but what it does do is slow down the vehicle traffic through the intersection itself to where if there is a fender bender, it is at a very low speed,” Benton said.
Some who live in the area said they are enjoying the change. “So far, everybody is doing well on it,” resident Stormy Costanza said. “We are enjoying it, feeling safer and appreciate the funding that’s provided it.”
Another roundabout at 12th Street and Menaul is nearing completion in Albuquerque. That’s set to open at the end of the month.
Benton said the city provides instructions on how to drive in a roundabout.