City officials celebrate new railroad crossings

By Laurie Stone

City and county officials on Tuesday celebrated the grand opening of North Main Street as repairs were completed on railroad crossings.
For the past two years, city, county and state officials have worked with Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad officials seeking funding to fix the North Main crossing and its approaching roadways.
On Monday, barricades were set up near South Avenue B enabling workers to replace bumpy wooden railroad ties with concrete. At 1 p.m. on Tuesday, repairs for the first of two roadways was completed and reopened for crossing.
City and county officials said driving over the railroad crossing before the repairs was potentially hazardous.
Now that repairs have been made, motorists can cross over a smooth surface without concerns.
“I no longer bounce all over my car when I cross the tracks, said Raquel Worten. “The repairs are fantastic.”
Dennis Lopez, a Roosevelt County commissioner, credited the success of the task with communication and teamwork from all those who participated in the process.
“My greatest relief was when I saw the roadblocks go up,” Lopez said. For two years, Lopez, Portales Mayor Orlando Ortega, State Sen. Stuart Ingle, R-Portales, and those at the BNSF railroad have been trying to get funding to repair the North Main crossings and railroads.
Portales received a grant from the state to fix the crossing and worked in conjunction with BNSF and State Highway Department officials. The railroad replaced the wood ties with concrete and the city reconstructed the street with chip seal.
“We knew it needed done,” Ortega said. “It took time and a lot of money, but we want to do what we can for the community.”