Dangerous Santa Fe intersection set to get safety makeover

Road construction
Road construction

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s a relief route a lot of people take to avoid traffic in the city of Santa Fe.

But busy turns into a problem when 599 meets Via Veteranos, also known as County Road 70.

Santa Fe Police said it’s the same story almost every time.

“It’s where the person pulls out on the county road trying to cross 599 and thinks they have enough time and they don’t and end up with a side collision,” said Captain James Lamb with the Santa Fe Police Department.

It was about two months ago when Rio Arriba Deputy Cindy Garcia and her husband, Ted, a Taos County Deputy were on 599 when they were broadsided at the intersection.

Ted was treated and released. Cindy suffered a serious head injury putting her in ICU for about a month before she was able to go home.

However, the driver who crashed into them died.

“The injuries when they do occur, are very traumatic,” said Captain Lamb.

Just on Monday, another almost identical crash happened at the same intersection.

“The crash actually occurred at the front part of the car and I’m pretty confident that if it would’ve happened on the side of the car, then we would’ve had another fatality,” said Captain Lamb.

Santa Fe Police said speeding on 599 is often a factor.

“The average speeds there, it’s 55 posted, but the average speed is about 65 to 80,” said Captain Lamb.

The Department of Transportation said it does plan to give the intersection a makeover, by eliminating left turns from the county road.

“So they’ll have to do some work on the median,” said Emilee Cantrell with the New Mexico Department of Transportation. “It should be a fairly quick construction project once it gets going.”

It’s a project police said they can get behind.

“The last few crashes I went to, they were turning left,” said Captain Lamb.

Police said after investigating the crash involving the deputies, they actually believe the sun was an issue that day, making it difficult for drivers to see when they tried to cross 599.

Santa Fe Police also said they do post up at the intersection regularly, giving out hundreds of speeding tickets some months.

DOT said it wants to get construction started at the intersection as soon as possible. But first, they have to finish the design stage and then secure funds.

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