By Tony Parra
New Mexico State Highway Department officials said they are hoping for dry, sunny weather in March to repair potholes and rocky state highways in Portales.
Orvel Turner, supervisor for the Maintenance Patrol Yard of the State Highway Department, said materials have been ordered to fix some of the worst areas on some of the state highways. Turner said most of the calls he gets are about the area on First Street in between the Portales News-Tribune and Valley Furniture buildings.
Turner said he’s also received a few calls about northeast of Portales where Highway 70 intersects with North Kilgore Avenue.
Turner said hot/cold mix of asphalt paving is being used to repair the highways. Turner said a problem with the mix is its sensitivity to traffic and moisture while it dries. Turner said moisture underneath the pavement does not allow for the mix to stick. He said because of the lack of drainage, moisture continues to cause problems for several days after precipitation.
Turner said there needs to be 70-degree sunny days for a period of at least seven days for the hot/cold mix to stick. He said cold patch mix can also be used to repair the highways and it’s not as sensitive to moisture, but it’s much more expensive. Turner said a 50-pound sack of cold patch is $11. Hot/cold mix is about $45 a ton, while a 50-pound sack of cold patch is about $11 (about $440 a ton).
Turner said the department will be using $115,000 from the state highway department to repair some of the worst spots in Portales.
“The streets would also benefit from a truck-bypass,” Turner said. “This would keep all the heavy truck traffic off of First and Second Streets.”
The Portales Public Works department employees and City Manager Debi Lee are looking into an Adopt-a-pothole program for the residents of Portales to solve the street hazards created by traffic and rain.
Lee said a system they will be reviewing is to have residents fill out a form with the location of a potholes which need repairing during a city meeting in February. City public works employees will then review the applications and determine which potholes have the highest priority.
Tom Howell, public works director, said officials will also be looking at a way of incorporating the program into the City of Portales Web site. Howell said he hopes to have the program running in March. Until then, if people have concerns about a certain city street, Howell said they can call 356-6662, ext. 19.
If people have concerns about state highways, such as First and Second Street and Highway 70, the number is 356-8482.