Smooth Sailing

Mike Linn

A pothole half a foot deep at the intersection of 9th Street and South Globe Avenue harbored about a quart of water Tuesday afternoon. Several feet from the pothole on Globe was a crooked mound that would slightly shake the most sturdy of cars. And on the side of the road a two-inch drop off looks like a rock-climbing playground for ants and small insects.
These minor road hazards, however, probably won’t exist next year.
Portales Street Superintendent Joe Parie said that section of road — 9th street from Globe to South Chicago Avenue— along with four other stretches are on a list of street projects to begin next spring.
This will be good news for Portales residents, who during four town hall meetings between the early spring and summer months expressed concern over rough city streets and bumpy state highways.
“We do have a number of road problems in different areas, but some of the problems they complained about are things that we have to complain to the state, since they are state highways,” Co-city manager Joan Martinez-Terry said. “There are some others that are being addressed, but it is a problem yeah.”
The projects will cost $73,700. A majority of that money comes from the state and $18,425 will come from city funds.
Parie said the city will spend about an additional $60,000 annually to repair roads, and even with all the money in the world perfect roads would never exist.
“We do to our capacity,” Parie said. “Everybody wants better roads, but they also want more restaurants, a giant shopping plaza and a big cineplex.”
Typically, street department personnel will work on roads during the warm months because pouring certain mixtures on cold days can be counterproductive, Parie added.
Road repairs is also a high-priority for county roads, and the state allocates roughly $349,000 annually for those projects.
Even with more than twice the budget as the city, county administrator Charline Hardin said the money is never enough to fix all the problems.
County Road Department Manager Jackie Grimes said he has several projects that lie ahead, including road repairs near Dora, Elida, north of Floyd and near the city limits.
“Every road I’ve got needs repairs,” said Grimes, who noted that about 60 miles of county roads are paved.
Regarding state roads, state officials say little if any of the $1.4 billion GRIP (Gov. Richardson’s Interstate Program) money is slated to be spent in Roosevelt County.
Due to extensive repairs recently completed on the Cacahuate Road and on Highway 70 north and south of Portales, state officials say only minor projects may get completed in the near future.
Two railroad crossings, one on Main Street and one on South Avenue B, are on assistant district engineer Paul Zagone’s repair list but no time table has been set to start construction.
Likewise, road repairs expected for New Mexico 467 toward Cannon Air Force Base is on a growing list of roads needing construction. But like the railroad crossings, the start dates have yet to be decided.