U.S. 70 Project hearing set

By Argen Duncan: PNT Senior Writer

Consultants are suggesting two options for the reconstruction of U.S. 70 through Portales, and a public hearing on the project is set for June 30.

The project, planned to begin next year, would rebuild two miles of U.S. 70 from about the southwest edge of town to Bryan Avenue, a few blocks past the Square.

Portales City Manager Tom Howell said traffic has increased on the highway, and so improvements are necessary.

“It’s going to give us an opportunity to upgrade part of our community, and it’s going to make traffic through town more expedient,” he said.

According to the environmental assessment on the project, the first mile up to Avenue K will receive pavement rehabilitation, new sidewalks, improvements to handicap ramps and landscaping.

The mile from Avenue K to Bryan will be reconstructed, including the road and, and in most places, sidewalks, curbs and gutters will be added, said Robert Kurtz, engineering support manager with the state Department of Transportation District 2.

For that mile, two alternatives exist, both with two 12-foot driving lanes in each direction and sidewalks, landscaping and a total of 110-120 parking spaces. One option calls for a bike lane on the right side of the road and five-foot-wide sidewalks, while the other involves six-foot sidewalks and no bike lane.

“The cost difference isn’t much different between those two options,” Kurtz said.

An option will be chosen after public review, according to the environmental assessment, which reported no significant environmental impact from either option.

The plans could also include various options for specific intersections, such as a cul-de-sac at Avenue G and First Street and possible closure of access from Boston Avenue to U.S. 70, according to the assessment.

Howell said the project would involve installing a stop light at Second and Main streets.

Kurtz said engineers could begin designing the project once an option was chosen, and he hoped to put it out for bid in about a year.