El Paso

TxDOT: Westside traffic is about to get worse

Sunland Park Traffic

EL PASO, Texas - If you think the traffic on the west side is bad now, TxDOT is warning it’s about to get a lot worse. 

ABC-7 has spotted numerous cars getting stuck in the intersection as the light turns green during rush hour near Mesa Hills Dr. and Sunland Park Dr. 

A viewer even sent ABC-7 a question about that similar problem stating, "I was wondering if you guys could look into the congestion at Sunland Park and Gateway West. The light going west bound turns green for approximately 20 seconds allowing only a few cars to pass. Causing backup to past Mesa Hills. Is there anything TxDOT can do?"

TxDot’s District Engineer Bob Bieleck said because they are working on the intersections on both sides of the I-10 in that area, they do have the ability to change the synchronization of lights, but it wouldn’t come with out other areas paying the price. 

“If you increase the green time in one direction your taking green time away in another direction,” Bieleck said. "That area doesn't peak like most other areas do. There's more continuous traffic to the shopping areas than the normal run of the mill peaking downtown and going home. So it's very difficult to adjust that timing." 

Rudy Pino, with the city's street and maintenance department, said the city monitors traffic lights and traffic flow on the west side. 

"In the morning typically going toward downtown we time the signals so when you start at one signal you'll typically get all the signals as you drive toward downtown," Pino said. "But you have to remember you have to drive the speed limit. If you're not driving the speed limit you may not get that coordination."

Pino said a lot of the time, the congestion near Sunland Park Dr. and Mesa Hills Dr. is due to an incident on I-10, or that area being the main detour for I-10. 

"Our traffic signals can only do so much," Pino said. "We try to give them as much green time but there comes a point where they just get saturated with traffic. "

"It's very hard to provide progression in all directions," Pino added. "So typically like Mesa would be the main corridor, because that carries a lot more traffic then say Sunland. Not to say that we just ignore Sunland but they probably get less time." 

Pino said if the city notices certain areas are becoming more congested throughout the day, they can make changes through their traffic system to the signals. He said if residents have any issues about any intersection, they can call 3-1-1. 

Bieleck said if you think the traffic in that area is bad now, it’s only going to get worse. 

Starting in April, the Sunland Park bridge will be shut down as part of the Go-10 Project. 

“We’ll move traffic over to one of those two turn around bridges,” Bieleck said. “That will be one lane in each direction and that can last up to six months.” 

His advice: avoid the area at all cost, if you can. 

“It’s bad today and it’s going to get worse in he future,” Bieleck said. 

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