EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Right along the state line of Texas and New Mexico lies an intersection on the El Paso, Texas side, which some people who live in the area call “poorly planned” and “dangerous.”
The area in question is the intersection of US-54 North and State Line Road, right near the Edge of Texas restaurant.
Joanna Noga, a neighboring resident of Chaparral, N.M., said she drives through that area almost daily to commute to El Paso for necessities. She said she witnessed a crash on Sunday involving a camper and at least two other vehicles in that intersection.
“It needs to be considered a real intersection,” Noga said.
The issue, according to Noga, is that there are no traffic lights and just an oddly placed stop sign in the middle between the highway roads.
“I want to know how many people need to get injured,” Noga said.
Drivers heading north or south along the US-54 highway can go 65 to 75 miles an hour. In the middle of the intersection, drivers turning onto State Line Road or making a U-turn, must stop at a stop sign which leaves little room for several cars without sticking out onto the highway. Noga said cars pile up in the middle and it leaves a dangerous situation for cars to collide.
“They start piling in the middle because that’s where the stop sign is and its barely a car length at that stop sign because you’re going to turn,” Noga said.
She added that when bigger vehicles like trailers or semi-trucks go through, they block visibility.
“I don’t even know how a semi turns there but once they’re there, there’s zero visibility, we want a light, shouldn’t there be a light,” Noga said.
Other neighbors agreed.
“I’ve seen a lot of loss of life, I go through here every morning and the afternoon and we’ve seen a lot of casualties here,” Carlos Perez said.
Noga and Perez said its a developing area and on the state line, so many people are coming through between Texas and New Mexico, making it a high-traffic area, full of travelers from all over and residents.
“It’s just very confusing for people coming from that way and the people coming from Chaparral and it means we’re going to have casualties ongoing,” Perez said.
The people who live in the area said they want to see action taken, like a traffic light put up. Joe Molinar, El Paso City Council District 4 representative said his office doesn’t have plans to put up a light in the area anytime soon, or have the authority to. He also added his office hasn’t received any complaints about it.
Noga said since the area is so close to New Mexico, it can be confusing about who is responsible for the area.
A TxDOT El Paso spokesperson told KTSM they were aware of the area and public concerns and were looking into the US-54 and State Line intersection as part of their safety improvement plan. More details are expected to come soon.
As KTSM previously reported, TxDOT installed traffic lights in the Mesquite Hills area after a 2018 study. It is also in Northeast El Paso. The lights went up at the intersections of Mesquite Hill Drive and Gateway North and Mesquite Hill Drive and Gateway South.
That intersection previously had a stop sign but was reconfigured after TxDOT conducted a study on the area. In 2016, the intersection was the site of six crashes and no fatalities. In 2017, there were 11 crashes and two fatalities – one on Sept. 27 and the other on Dec. 27, according to TxDOT.