ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A new type of traffic signal you may have never seen before is coming to a busy Albuquerque intersection. According to the state, it comes in response to a high number of accidents.
Starting next week, drivers will have to navigate a new flashing yellow arrow. “It’s a busy intersection, “People just going way too fast way over the speed limit,” says Kenny Vandeventer.
The intersection is used by a lot of new drivers headed into St. Pius. “We have a lot of children that are new drivers that are turning into the school to get there,” says NMDOT Spokesperson Kimberly Gallegos.
Now, the flow of traffic near Coors and St. Josephs is changing. “I think once traffic gets used to the new pattern it will flow nicely,” Gallegos says.
Following a traffic study for the area, the New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) is adding a brand new light, specifically for southbound drivers on Coors turning left onto St. Josephs.
“The people will run, they’ll go from a green light, say on a turn signal, to the yellow, even the red, and they’ll still be crossing the lane,” Vandeventer says.
The new light will have red, green and yellow arrows and a new flashing yellow arrow to keep that from happening. The flashing yellow arrow means left turns are permitted, but drivers must first yield to oncoming traffic or crossing pedestrians.
Drivers are confused but hopeful about the new addition.
“Too many arrows. People don’t even abide by the ones that are there now,” Vandeventer says.
“I do think it would allow more time and a warning for when you can turn,” Ana Moran says.
In the mornings before school, the light will only flash the red or green arrow. The other times of the day will have the flashing yellow arrow.
“At that time, they can either turn or be stopped for that entrance, so it’s really tailored towards inexperienced drivers,” Gallegos says.
NMDOT officials say drivers will have to adjust, but believe it will be worth it. “After time, we will see the safety value of it,” Gallegos says.
The new light will be installed on Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The DOT says it has these lights in Rio Rancho and Bernalillo, but this is the first one in Albuquerque.