ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s one of the busiest intersections in Albuquerque and it’s known for its speeders and crashes. Anybody who drives through Coors and Paseo del Norte knows it can get pretty chaotic.
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“I was coming on- merging and I slid. Truck went sideways and hit the curb. I just slipped. I think I was going too fast,” one driver is heard telling an Albuquerque Police officer in lapel video from January.
It’s a crash scene that’s become common around that interchange. Two years of crash data covering 2018 and 2019 shows there were 333 crashes there, and luckily, no deaths were reported. During the busy lunch hour at that interchange on Friday, there was back-up along Coors, and speeders flying through.
“People run that red light all the time so you really have to look both ways before you decide to make a turn or go straight,” driver Sarah Gallegos stated. She adds the sudden lane split from westbound Paseo onto Coors can cause people to swerve. She says that because she works nearby, she’s seen how dangerous this area can be.”A few rollovers that have caused backups and stuff like that,” she stated.
KRQE News 13 reported back in 2015 the New Mexico Department of Transportation was looking at an overhaul of the interchange. But, on Friday, said while the problems there are on their radar, there are no plans in the pipeline.
“Right now, we’re seeing that most of the accidents are driver behavior, not something that’s necessarily wrong with the roadway,” NMDOT Spokesperson Kimberly Gallegos explained. She said the interchange, built-in 1986, should have at least 15 more years of life left in it.
“We know the area has grown out there but it’s still meeting the need of that area and we’ve noticed other people are taking other avenues to get to paseo, as well,” Gallegos added.
For now, there are other priorities, like a new interchange at I-25 and Montgomery, then replacing the bridge at Gibson. The daytime traffic is made even worse for the time being. The city is doing a landscape project on Coors just north of Paseo, closing off a southbound lane during the workday. The I-25 and Montgomery project is slated to start in 2023, followed by the Gibson project.