Traffic signal confusing drivers, causing backup during rush hour

A traffic signal meant to keep traffic moving smoothly into Sandia National Labs and the base isn’t exactly working as it’s supposed to.

It’s the only signal of its kind in Albuquerque, allowing for two turn lanes to southbound Eubank from westbound Central.

“It’s absolutely busy and congested in the mornings and afternoons,” says Rhonda Owen. 

It’s a way to move traffic quickly onto the base in the busy morning hours, but the rest of the time, that second lane is just a normal lane. 

“The gate has a tendency to back up,” says Kimberley Ridgeway.

It’s clear drivers are confused.

“What really happens at this light on central and Eubank is there is one turning lane but people always use it as two,” Owen says. 

That’s actually not the case, at least, not in the morning—and this driver isn’t the only one who doesn’t realize that.

KRQE News 13 sat out there Wednesday morning with a camera and found drivers are waiting to go straight through the light when there is a green turn arrow, backing up traffic.
 
The city says only after rush hour should drivers be using the second turn lane to go straight, and if in doubt look at the sign.

“Now once 8:45 am hits there is a sign above one of those lanes [that] changes to have that lane be a straight lane onto Central so you can continue westbound,” says Johnny Chandler with the Department of Municipal Development.

The city says all the right signage is in place; drivers just need to pay attention. 

“I just think people should educate themselves and do take the driving test and know how to drive on our streets,” Owen says. 

The signal was installed way back in 2008. An estimated 30,000 drivers travel through the intersection daily.

The city says right now, there are no plans to add similar signals around the city. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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