A bus crash that left a man dead on Wednesday on Mesa Street was an extremely frustrating situation for everyone involved, backing up traffic on the West Side for hours.
ABC-7 spoke with El Paso police about how it was handled. A spokesman said they received complaints from drivers who spent much of their evening sitting in that mess on Mesa Street.
Police told ABC-7 they too felt the frustration, but were doing everything they possibly could.
"We understand people are frustrated and for good reason," EPPD spokesman Enrique Carrillo said. "That happens and people want to get home. Rush hour is just starting and so already we have congestion on the freeway and on Mesa Street. With the limited lanes on I-10, the overflow comes into Mesa. Now we have this collision and we're forced to shut down all the north bound lanes."
Some drivers felt they needed more officers to help. But Carrillo told ABC-7 that taking officers from other patrol areas is a tough call.
"With the number of cars on the road, you're still going to have that congestion no matter how many officers we have out here," Carrillo said. "In those cases, what we're doing is robbing Peter to pay Paul. It's going to reduce the amount of officers elsewhere to handle those calls."
Police said one of the things drivers can do to help the situation is not block intersections when there are green lights. In other words, if drivers cannot proceed through the intersection because of the traffic, stop before the intersection because blocking it backs up the traffic into the neighborhoods.
"You're stopping the cross street traffic from going through on their green light," Carrillo said. "You're interfering with the flow of traffic and that is an offense. You can be cited for it."
Carrillo said the only alternative for drivers going west would have been going Northeast to Transmountain Road.
"There isn't much more we can do when it's at a gridlock like that and we ask people be patient," Carrillo said.
Until the new freeway access road is finished and Paisano reopened, drivers beware. Carrillo told ABC-7 this could happen again. So be prepared and pay attention to those KVIA traffic alerts.