LOS LUNAS — The drive to and from work is about to be much smoother on Main Street in Los Lunas.
As part of the village’s agreement with the Meta Data Center, the company will pay to synch the traffic lights along N.M. 6 in order to promote a better flow during peak traffic times. It will be implemented from Los Morros Road to Carson Drive, about three miles of state roadway.
“When new development comes into Los Lunas, they are always required to perform a traffic impact analysis, and basically say what their impact to our road is,” said Michael Jaramillo, the public works director for the village of Los Lunas. “That flushes out some concerns and issues and say, ‘Well, you want to come to Los Lunas, you’re going to have to help pay for those improvements.’”
Although new developments have to address traffic concerns with their dime, the improvements have been coming after the development, creating increased congestion on village roadways.
Currently in Los Lunas, since the traffic lights along the village’s Main Street were installed at different times, they are not communicating with each other, Jaramillo said.
“If you go into some larger communities that are a little more advanced than we are, they use a system where a central control system can actually communicate and see how the timing is on all of the signals,” Jaramillo said. “Right now, here in Los Lunas, they have to physically go out there and manually look at it, and then they have to make adjustments.”
With the $675,000 provided by Meta, the village purchased a new centralized traffic system, which will allow them to make adjustments to the signals in real time.
Rather than adjust the signals based on speed, much like how Lead and Coal avenues in Albuquerque are timed, Jaramillo said in Los Lunas the signals will be adjusted to account for peak traffic flow.
Once the already-ordered materials for the project come in, it will be up to NMDOT for installation. He anticipates installation to start by about the end of July with the system being fully operational six months after the installation begins.
“We’re all in agreement; it’s something that can happen very quickly, it’s just a matter of the department of transportation, and they are fully prepared to start working on them,” Jaramillo said.
In addition to the new timing of traffic lights, Jaramillo said two other projects, funded in coordination with Meta and the NMDOT, will help to target the Interstate 25 corridor. These projects are in the pre-design phase, although the projects are already funded.
While the plans are still in the preliminary stages, Jaramillo said the village wants to add two additional turn lanes in that corridor — a right turn lane off of I-25 south going westbound on N.M. 6, and a left turn lane from N.M. 6 east to northbound I-25.
“That’s where the majority of our traffic problem is …” Jaramillo said. “That one will make a big difference in moving traffic, especially at certain times of the day.”
The village is also looking at installing a shared intersection at N.M. 6 and Sun Ranch Village Road to help control backups on the state highway.
“If you try to go to Chili’s at 5 o’clock, or the movies, you sit there trying to figure out how to get across, or how to get out,” Jaramillo said.
The village contracted Lee Engineering, the firm also leading other traffic studies for businesses along N.M. 6, to conduct a traffic study to figure out what type of shared lights would work best for the intersection.
Jaramillo hopes the three projects to be in construction by next year.