Councilor plans to replace 98th, Gibson stop signs with traffic lights

Albuquerque’s southwest mesa is booming, but drivers want to know why their roads haven’t improved over time to support that growth.

Drivers near 98th and Gibson on Wednesday said having a four-way stop at the large intersection is dangerous and confusing.

“It should be a stoplight there,” Willy Russell of Albuquerque said. “It should’ve been there from the time they planned the community.”

“Some people don’t realize it’s there and they just drive through it,” driver Emilio Ulibarri added.

On Wednesday, KRQE News 13 saw people fly through the intersection, some avoiding the stop signs altogether and others speeding past the 35 mph limit. Albuquerque police said there have been seven crashes at the intersection since February, including three with injuries.

City Councilor Klarissa Pena, who oversees the district, said replacing the stop signs with traffic lights is a big undertaking. “When the southwest mesa was developed, there was a lot of poor planning, and we didn’t plan for these signalizations as some of these developments grew, and it’s created this backlog of issues that we have,” she explained.

Pena has been sitting on $450,000 for the traffic lights for 98th and Gibson, approved from city bonds back in 2017, but said the infrastructure there still isn’t prepared for installing lights. She said she’ll request an additional $2 million in federal funds to get the area ready for street lights, curbs, gutters and to make sure it is ADA compliant.

Her hope is to get the full funding for the intersection by 2021, but she also is asking the Department of Municipal Development if there are other funds available to help get the project rolling sooner. Pena also received city bond money for traffic lights at 98th and Blake, but would still need millions more to cover the infrastructure work needed there.

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