Drivers question change: Merge lane on Tramway and Paseo removed

Traffic and Roads

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A change to the busy intersection at Paseo Del Norte and Tramway has quite a few drivers wondering what the New Mexico Department of Transportation is thinking. What was once a merge lane is now barricaded off making it harder to get up to speed and get on Tramway.

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Before Tuesday, drivers turning right from Paseo onto Tramway were using a shoulder, which was once the merging lane to get onto Tramway. Barriers are now putting a stop to that.

“We are yielding to bicyclists and pedestrians that cross through there. So, it’s just making that area a little bit safer. For that reason, there’s a lot of activity of bicyclists and pedestrians that travel on Tramway,” said NMDOT’s spokesperson Kimberly Gallegos.

Instead of a seamless turn into an acceleration lane — drivers now have to pull up to Tramway and make sure the coast is clear but drivers who use that right turn are voicing their opinions on social media, saying the new barricades could lead to a few other outcomes like driving over the plastic poles to avoid a crash, accidentally driving into the path of oncoming traffic or stopping suddenly and getting rear-ended.

NMDOT, which oversees Paseo and Tramway because they’re both state highways, knows the changes will take some getting used to.

“We realize that it’s frustrating that the accelerations lanes were taken away and that some of the delineators were put in, however, we are meeting with all of the entities and we like to collaborate with everyone to work together as the community to see what best fits the type of modes of transportation that travel through our roadways,” said Gallegos.

A Google picture from earlier this year shows after the merging lane was closed, drivers kept using it. It was closed when the southbound bike lane was added the last year. The new bike lane runs all the way down Tramway to I-40. NMDOT says there are no plans right now to add any more barricades on Tramway but that could change in the future. NMDOT put up a digital message board on Paseo alerting drivers to the changes up ahead at Tramway.

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