Cheese plant road plan hits snags

By Tony Parra

Roosevelt County and city officials’ hope of building a cheese plant road leading up from the south on Roosevelt County to the new Southwest Cheeseplant encountered a snag on Friday — the acquisition of property.
The two-mile road leading up from Highway 70 to the cheese plant road would have to be 30 feet wide, according to Fred Curnutt, Engineers Inc. division leader for Tucumcari. The proposed road would be an extension of Curry County Road K to Highway 70. One of the problems the road would create, would be that irrigation circles alongside the road would be impacted, according to Curnutt.
The report projects 85 vehicles and 72 milk trucks traveling per day.
Mayor Orlando Ortega and Alva Carter, chairman of the Southwest Dairy Farmers of America council, said the road would not only save in the driving distance for milk trucks traveling from the south, but that it could create economic development on both sides of the road in Roosevelt County.
The cost of the cheese plant road is projected to be $855,000, but this number does not include the cost of acquisition of property to each side of the road. The breakdown of the cost is: Construction of the road to convert it to asphalt is $560,000; cost of creating an intersection on Highway 70 for the road is $220,000 and the cost for engineering to create a traffic intersection analysis is $75,000.
“The biggest concern right now is the acquisition of the property,” Mayor Orlando Ortega said. “We need to have a number locked in on how much it’s going to cost us. I don’t feel comfortable approaching the governor unless I have this information.”
However, determining the cost of acquisition has been a stumbling block. Kim Huffman, community development director, said he has made several calls to Paul Jorde, who owns Jorde Hacienda Inc. Huffman said Jorde lives in Arizona. Jorde owns land on both sides of the south portion of the road leading from Highway 70.
Once negotiations are made with Jorde, negotiations with Tony Teune must be made because he owns property on both sides of the north portion of the road, which leads to Curry County Road K. According to Huffman, widening the road will effect Teune’s irrigation circles. Teune owns a dairy on his property.
County commissioners have been trying to figure out how much of an economic impact the road would have on Roosevelt County’s economy.
April 20: Commissioners decided that $170,000 allocated from capital outlay would not be enough for a quality paved road. Commission Chairman, at the time, Dennis Lopez stated the money could also be used to devise a feasibility study.
Nov. 9: Commissioners approve to allocate $70,000 of the capital outlay fund for a feasibility study on the road.
Dec. 21: Commissioners award a request for a proposal to Engineers Inc. of Tucumcari to perform a feasibility study on the road.