By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor
Twelve miles of N.M. 206 between Portales and Dora will be repaved from a failed paving preservation project completed earlier this year.
New Mexico Department of Transportation officials said Tuesday the project would get under way early next summer. The project will affect the section nearest Portales from mile markers 68 to 80.
“The pavement preservation process has worked well in the past, and it is unfortunate and frustrating that motorists have been dealing with this,” NMDOT District Engineer Gary Shubert said in a news release. “We have been working with the contractor Holly Asphalt and the NMDOT Central Materials Lab to conduct a formal investigation as to why the project failed. With their recommendations, we now have a solution in place to repair the roadway and resolve the problem for motorists.”
The release said the 12-mile section of two-lane roadway will be reconstructed at a cost of $6.6 million for the total project. The original 20 mile preservation project cost $1.5 million
“We will process, place and compact the existing failed pavement surface and then resurface the roadway with new asphaltic material,” NMDOT Construction Engineer Ismael Dominguez said.
NMDOT officials said in the press release the project would have to wait until summer because of concerns caused by winter weather impacting the construction. Roosevelt County Commissioner and Dora resident Bill Cathey said he’s not sure how well the road will hold up in the meantime.
“It all depends on how much rain and snow we get on it,” Cathey said. “Right now it’s holding up pretty good, but it’s been dry.”
Lab experts said the pavement failed because of a chemical reaction process between the oil and the aggregate called stripping. That condition is exacerbated by fluctuating temperatures, excess moisture and heavy truck traffic. State officials have said those were likely contributing factors in this failure.
The release said the NMDOT District 2 office is continuing to negotiate with the contractor, Brasier Construction of Colorado, on additional costs associated with removal and replacement of the failed surface.
According to NMDOT spokesperson Manon Arnett, the remaining eight miles would likely be done in a second phase as money becomes available.