New Mexico 467 overpass on track

By Tonya Fennell: Freedom Newspapers

The state is on target to complete the N.M. 467 railroad overpass in Clovis on time, according to a state official.

The $3.6 million project, which began in June, involves the installation of a three-span bridge, sidewalks, curb, gutters and pavement markings.

Overpass project superintendent Mike Barnes said the extensive construction project is progressing well.

“We are on track with the original (construction) timeline we presented to the New Mexico Department of Transportation,” Barnes said. “We expect the project to be completed by June 1.”

Barnes said construction contractor K. Barnett & Sons is currently placing reinforcing steel in the bridge deck. The crew plans to begin pouring the bridge’s concrete in January, he said.

The railroad overpass will serve approximately 1,200 southwest Curry County residents who reside in the Wheat Ridge, Double A, South Valley and Buchanan subdivisions. Currently these residents cannot enter Clovis without crossing a railroad track.

Curry County officials voted to construct the overpass following their decision to close the Wheaton Street railroad crossing to make room for expansion of the BNSF Railway rail yard.

The bulk of the 467 overpass construction will be paid by $2 million in federal and $1 million in state taxpayer funds. Curry County has allocated $500,000 for sidewalks and guardrails. BNSF will contribute 10 percent of the cost as part of a previous agreement for the county closing the Wheaton Street crossing.

Meanwhile, plans to build a similar overpass on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Clovis have stalled because of a lack of funding.

According to city of Clovis grant coordinator Sandy Chancey, $400,000 in legislative capital outlay funds has been acquired for the project.

The MLK overpass project has been estimated to cost $6 million, according to Chancey.

In 2005, Clovis city commissioners chose the MLK railroad overpass project to submit for a Community Development Block Grant. However, the $50,000 grant was not awarded to Clovis.

“The MLK overpass project was not a good candidate for the grant,” Chancey said. “It was not a viable option.”

Clovis City Manager Joe Thomas said the project remains a possibility despite the lack of funds.

“It (MLK overpass) is still on the horizon,” Thomas said, “but state funding is limited so it isn’t a priority at this time.”