Big changes slated for Albuquerque intersection of Kayenta, McMahon

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From speeding to crashes, one intersection on Albuquerque’s west side has been a problem for years. Now the city thinks it may have a solution.

“I’ve had people come behind me and honk their horn because I wasn’t going 50 mph just as I turned the corner,” said Bill Robinson, who lives in the area.

The intersection of Kayenta and McMahon on Albuquerque’s west side sees a lot of traffic, especially during the afternoon rush hour.

“Between 4:00 and 6:00 is atrocious really,” Robinson said.

“At night it’s even worse because it’s dark,” said Michael LaGrassa, who lives in the area. “You have these cars shifting lanes on you and if you don’t know that that’s the way they’re supposed to be going, you think they’re doing something strange.”

Drivers we spoke with all agreed the main issue is the median on McMahon, which can be confusing for drivers who are unfamiliar with the road.

“It takes some getting used to,” said Lorene Wilkey who lives in the area. “I would say if you’re not totally paying attention it would be really easy to make that left-hand turn into oncoming traffic if you didn’t know.”

“You always have to look at the traffic going east there, and west, and it’s just too many cars,” Robinson added.

The city is hearing their complaints.

“With the growing west side and amount of traffic we have, we need to improve that,” said Johnny Chandler with the Department of Municipal Development. 

The city is working alongside Councilor Cynthia Borrego to come up with a solution for the growing community.

“The first priority is to get McMahon expanded to two lanes in each direction all the way to universe,” Chandler said.

It’s something residents in the area say is a step in the right direction.

“I think eventually having all the lanes straight across, until they build that bridge wider to make it four lanes in both directions all the way across would help a lot,” LaGrassa added.

It will cost the city $3.6 million to widen the street to four lanes. They are hoping to get money from the upcoming legislative session to start the project in 2021.

Councilor Borrego recently spent $3,000 on two light poles at that intersection to improve visibility for drivers.

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