U.S. 70 work continues

U.S. 70 construction project officials said they are moving on with their plans despite a setback caused by a week's worth of rain in August.

Christina Calloway: Portales News-Tribune

U.S. 70 construction officials said the intersections of Avenue K and First and Second streets may be opened up as early as Tuesday to help ease traffic congestion around Eastern New Mexico University.

Project Supervisor John Guldemann of Constructors Inc. said in August, construction workers poured concrete and curb and gutters on First Street.

He says they hope to work on the sidewalk and driveways next and then pave some more road on First.

Guldemann predicts that they will start opening up more of Second Street going toward Avenue C in about two to three weeks.

They have also removed construction signs and cones on U.S. 70 near Roosevelt General Hospital.

"The work zone isn't as far out anymore," Guldemann said. "In the university area, we have more lanes open. Everything kind of got moved up."

Guldemann said they had considered weather when predicting a completion date of the project, as early as July 2013, but said they are behind at least three or four weeks due to bad weather.

Even with the delays, New Mexico Department of Transportation's Pat Garcia said they're planning to clear up the intersections of South Avenue K and First and Second streets as early as Tuesday now that school is back in session for Eastern New Mexico University.

Garcia and Guldemann said with the project moving along, there will also be more access to businesses.

"They don't want to lose any business and that's our main goal, we're trying to give them the most access we can," Garcia said.

Guldemann said they're willing to work with business owners who have issues with the construction.

"We've had our few complaints (from business owners) and we've done our best to accommodate them," Guldemann said.

"A few signs have been stolen or moved but it's gotten better," Guldemann said. "There hasn't been any accidents and no one's been hurt."

Garcia is looking forward to the next steps of the process.

"So far it looks like we're going in a positive direction," he said. "With God's good graces, we should be starting our concrete paving from Avenue C towards Avenue F as early as Thursday night of next week."

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