Loving residents urge NMDOT for stoplight on deadly highway

New Mexico

Residents in one New Mexico village are calling on the state to fix a problem intersection that’s already turned deadly — and they say it’s only a matter of time until it does again.

Loving residents like Cruz Ornelas say this stretch of Highway 285 is just too dangerous.

“Not just truck drivers, drivers in general, they feel they need to get across that road and they take that extra chance not realizing how fast the other vehicle is coming towards them,” said Ornelas.

Ornelas has been a long-time advocate of putting up a stoplight where Highway 285 meets Highway 31 to make crossing easier.

However, just last month, it became personal when his son collided with a semi at that intersection.

“They re-did his leg from the knee-down. They pieced it together like a puzzle,” said Ornelas. “By the grace of God he still has it, but we won’t know if he loses that leg for up to another three months.”

Ornelas says the problem has only gotten worse in the last few years.

“The monster behind it is that we get so much traffic from the oil fields,” said Loving Mayor Pro-Tem Serapio Parraz.

He’s urged the village to do something, but they say it’s up to the New Mexico Department of Transportation.

“Our hands are tied pretty much because it’s a state highway,” said Parraz.

NMDOT said it has conducted studies on this corridor, however, it doesn’t meet their requirements for a stoplight.

Ornelas is pleading with them to give it a second look.

“The way I feel…I can only imagine those poor families that don’t have their sons or their daughters or their grandsons, granddaughters with them anymore,” said Ornelas. “A lot of it is driver error. A lot of it is road conditions. A lot of it is congested traffic — but the red lights would help.”

NMDOT says U.S. 285 from Loving to the NM/Texas state line was established a Safety Corridor March 2018. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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