Streetscape project set to begin next week

Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor

As one Portales MainStreet Organization streetscape project gets under way next week, news of funding for another project arrived Thursday at city hall.

A streetscape project that will redo sidewalks add new street lights, trees and curb and gutter will start next week on First Street (U.S. 70) in Portales. The $85,000 project is made available through allocation from the state legislature. Portales City Manager Debi Lee said that she had just received word that $110,000 in further funding for Portales streetscapes had been announced at a statewide MainStreet Organization quarterly meeting in Artesia by New Mexico Cabinet Secretary Rick Homans.

According to Randy Bryant, construction superintendent with LCI-2 Inc. Construction, traffic will be diverted beginning Monday on First Street from Abilene to Avenue B. Traffic will initially be narrowed to one lane between Abilene and Main then the single lane restriction will move west to Avenue B as work progresses. Bryant says the three block area should take about six weeks total or two weeks per block.

LCI-2 was awarded the $85,000 bid by Portales City Council on Sept. 6. The contract allows 45 days for completion.

“It’s certainly going to impact traffic,” said Lee. “We’ll certainly keep at least one lane open at all times and just ask for everyone’s patience while the work continues. We’re asking that all drivers be especially cautious as they commute through the downtown area.”

The project came about through a master plan process that seeks to eventually streetscape all of U.S. 70 through town. One section, on Second Street across from the square, has already been completed. Lee says the changes to First Street sidewalks will have the same look, with red brick pavers around trees and lamp posts and vintage look lighting. She says for the immediate future the work will focus on the area around the square with a link toward the Eastern New Mexico University being a priority before heading east.

“I think it’s a great project and we’ll aggressively keep seeking funds to get it all done,” said Lee.

Lee said the $110,000 project will be put out to bid as soon as possible and could proceed through the winter if weather permits.

“It’s good news,” she said of the new funding. “We’ll be able to do even more improvements.”