ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Nearly a year after removing an acceleration and merge lane for drivers turning from Paseo del Norte on to Tramway in the Albuquerque foothills, the New Mexico Department of Transportation is now getting ready in put in a new traffic signal at the intersection. The signal will replace a yield sign, further reshaping an area where most drivers used to be able to cruise though without stopping.
According to NMDOT, the signal affects drivers who are looking to turn from eastbound Paseo del Norte to soundbound Tramway. Drivers first noticed changes to that area in late 2021, when NMDOT removed and blocked a merge or “slip lane” that used to seamlessly transfer Paseo traffic to Tramway.
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Plastic poles essentially put a stop to drivers cruising on to southbound Tramway. Because of that change, many drivers are now forced to slow down or stop, then merge on to Tramway after looking for oncoming traffic.
After the change, in October 2021, NMDOT spokeswoman Kimberly Gallegos explained the move as an effort to help other road users who aren’t driving cars. “We’re kind of yielding to bicyclists and pedestrians that cross through there, so it’s just making that area little bit safer … there’s a lot of activity, bicyclists and pedestrians that travel on Tramway,” Gallegos told KRQE News 13 in October 2021.
The new traffic signal is expected to replace the current yield sign roadway setup. Construction is expected to begin tomorrow, Thursday, June 2, 2022. NMDOT says the installation should take a few hours to complete and the new signal should be online by the end of the day.
NMDOT is warning drivers in the area to “be prepared for a new traffic pattern.” With the new traffic signal, Gallegos told KRQE News 13 that NMDOT is not looking to reopen the merge or acceleration lane it closed in 2021. The intersection has seen at least one fatal crash since the change.