SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – A problematic Santa Fe interchange could soon be getting a multi-million dollar facelift. The New Mexico Department of Transportation wants the public’s input on what improvements need to be made.
People who live and work near St. Francis and St. Michaels interchange say they take back roads and side streets just to avoid the area. “That interchange is probably one of the worst, I’d say in Santa Fe, and when people, especially tourists, when they don’t know that there is no separate lane for when you yield to get on, it creates a lot of accidents and traffic issues,” says Anna North.
Collectively, St.Francis and St.Michael’s sees about 71,000 drivers each day. During a three-year study of the interchange, there were more than 220 crashes, 82 of those involved injuries. NMDOT has determined some of the key issues. There are no merge lanes at the on-ramps to St. Francis Drive. The southbound ramp on St. Michael’s was also identified as a hot spot for crashes.
The current bridge is too narrow to accommodate a merge lane for the northbound on-ramp. They also note missing sidewalks and lack of pedestrian access.
“When I leave work I go up to St. Michael’s Drive to St. Francis Drive and make a right-hand turn and it’s a merging turn with a whole lot of traffic going toward I-25 and so people don’t necessarily slow down, they don’t necessarily move over even though there is a sign, the difficulty is trying to merge safely,” says Billy Peterson.
NMDOT has a handful of possible designs for the project but thinks it will cost around $17 million. They’re holding a virtual meeting Tuesday to get public input on what design people think would best fit the area.
NMDOT will host another public input meeting toward the end of the year. They hope to have a design picked by December. For more information or provide input, visit stfran-stmike.public-involvement.com/public-involvement-resources/#view_presentation.