City council makes changes to street repair plans

By Tony Parra

Mayor Orlando Ortega and city officials approved a change order on Tuesday during the city meeting to a project which would allow the city to use an excess amount of money from a Community Development Block Grant to make further street improvements.
The original grant agreement awarded the City of Portales $457,882 to complete improvements to residential roadways on North Avenue M from West Lime Street to West Gum Street. This area is located in the north part of Portales around Lindsey Park. Portales Economic Development Manager Darla Wilhoit said the project was recently bid and a construction contract awarded in the amount of $327,789, leaving a remaining $130,000.
“An estimate was made for the cost, but the bid was significantly lower,” Wilhoit said. “We have additional money from the contract and we would like to make curb and gutter improvements to the connector streets.”
The change order calls for the expansion of the project to include:
• North Ave. M Place from Lime St. to Kaywood St. (which is located two blocks north of Lindsey Park)
• West Ivy Street between North Avenues M and N and
• West Kaywood Street between North Avenues M and N.
The total additional costs of the additional improvements are $105,881. The agreement was sent in early October to the Local Government Division of the Department of Finance and Administration of New Mexico.
Wilhoit said the wet weather has caused delays for the Lipham Construction company. However, she said there have been meetings to discuss the timeframe of the project and she said she believes 95 percent of the construction will be completed in time for program manager analyst Susan Alarid to inspect the construction work.
Wilhoit said a requirement from the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration is to have 95 percent of the CDBG project completed before city officials can apply for another CDBG grant in January.
“We definitely don’t want to miss the application for next year,” Ortega said.
According to Wilhoit, 95 percent of the construction has to be completed by Dec. 17 so Alarid can inspect the construction work. Also, Alarid must close out the paperwork for the project by Dec. 24.
City Councilor D.K. Shafer asked if there was any commitment from the New Mexico Highway Department with Highway 70 along with First and Second streets.
“Tom (Howell, Public Works Director) and I have been progressively talking to the district engineer and unfortunately they are saying they don’t have money to fix them,” City Manager Debi Lee said.
Lee said pictures have been presented to the district engineer and they (Lee and Ortega) have spoken face to face with the Secretary of Transportation, Rhonda Faught.
“She said you’re one of many who need help,” Ortega said. “It may be time to use your representatives. It’s pretty bad (street conditions). Most of the complaints are about First and Second streets.”