The ART buses have their own lanes, but at one very busy intersection, they’ll have to merge into normal lanes of traffic.
“Somebody is going to get killed. That’s what’s going to happen,” said Martin Jaramillo, who drives through the intersection of Central and I-25 almost every day.
The one stretch of Central that did not get renovated during ART construction, is where the road passes under I-25. The underpass still looks like it did years ago, no middle bus lanes.
The New Mexico Department of Transportation owns that section and said, there simply wasn’t room to add ART lanes.
“There was not enough room to put two lanes for the left-hand turn to enter and get on I-25 northbound and add an ART lane,” said Transportation Director Bernie Toon.
While there are currently no plans to make room for an ART lane, DOT did come up with a fix.
“It was not our decision but we think it’s a viable option, so we’re going to see how it works,” said Toon.
Toon says the plan is to give the buses the green light first. Once they make it through the underpass and back into an ART lane, drivers will get the go-ahead.
“It really is intended to allow the buses to proceed first, and then to let traffic proceed just after they clear the underpass, and get into the ART lane on the other side,” said Toon.
Toon says this will keep the 60-foot buses from having to merge with moving traffic on Central.
“I don’t think this will be a problem for drivers,” said Toon.
However, drivers think this is too much for an already busy area.
“It’s a big failure, I think this whole situation. It’s just a waste of money, to be honest with you,” said Jaramillo.
Thursday, Mayor Tim Keller and transportation officials will tour another set of electric buses. At last check, full service of ART won’t begin until mid-2020.