New Alameda traffic cameras cut east-west commute times, again

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – New traffic technology is now helping one of the most congested intersections in the metro area.

In a continuation of its adaptive signal project on Alameda Boulevard, Bernalillo County has now activated new traffic cameras at four intersections on that road aimed at unclogged some westside intersections.

Drivers may have heard of the technology over the past four years. In 2013, before the Paseo del Norte flyover began construction, Bernalillo County Public Works installed seven of the cameras at Alameda intersections between Second Street and Loretta Drive.

The county said that project helped cut commute times by a few minutes, but soon realized that traffic was backing up after the last adaptive signal, west of Loretta Drive.

Some drivers who make the east-west commute across Albuquerque know just how quickly traffic can back-up on the river crossings.

“Traffic is hard getting from one side of town to the other,” said Robel Taylor, who commutes over the river daily.

The county is hoping drivers will see fewer “stop and go” moments on Alameda now with the additional cameras at the four intersections, including Corrales/Coors Road, Ellison Drive, the roadway entrance to Cottonwood Commons and Cottonwood Road.

“We’re happy it’s actually gone beyond our expectations,” said Rodrigo Eichwald, an engineer for Bernalillo County Public Works.

Using computer algorithms to measure traffic, the cameras work together to figure out how much traffic is on Alameda and determine how long a light stays green.

“This does definitely help,” said Eichwald.

The new cameras at the four west-side intersections just went active toward the end of December 2017. The county says the results were “night and day.”

“I’ve driven through there and you go straight through it, through the corridor without any problems,” said Eichwald.

With the whole project, the county says it’s cut at least six minutes off the average commute on Alameda between I-25 and the Coors Boulevard Bypass.

The county now says it’s looking at adding the camera systems on Rio Bravo Boulevard and Bridge Boulevard. A few drivers told KRQE News 13 Wednesday that they like the idea.

“I get the concept, I think it’s a great concept, hopefully, it’s making a difference,” said Robel Taylor.

“Yeah, it’s a good idea to get traffic through quicker,” said a driver named Robert.

The Alameda camera project cost the county about $740,000 to install. The county says the cameras are cost effective because the cost of adding a new lane of traffic for an east-west bridge crossing road could be around $80 to $100 million.

The county says money has already been set aside for the Rio Bravo project and they hope to install it once NMDOT’s new interchange is built.

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