City council approves two-way Main Street

By Eric Butler: PNT staff writer

In another step to bring Main Street from a one-way road to one capable of two-way traffic, the Portales City Council unanimously approved a resolution Tuesday during their meeting at City Hall.

Tom Howell, interim city manager, said the New Mexico Department of Transportation office in Roswell requested the resolution.

Howell said that office would be responsible for altering the existing stoplight at First Street and Main to accommodate the change to two-way traffic. Currently, Main Street has traffic in only one direction: northeast from Second Street to First.

“They’re (DOT) the ones who would actually be doing the work. With our contract, all we do is change bulbs and fix them when they don’t work,” Howell said.

When the transportation department decides to alter the stoplight, Howell said, the city would be prepared to immediately paint new lines on Main Street to make the change official.

“We just need to wait for the (DOT) sign people to schedule us,” Howell said. “Hopefully, they’ll give me a day’s warning and we can start the day before.”

The regular meeting also saw councilors approve a resolution to close an application for a federal stimulus grant of $20,863.

Police Capt. Lonnie Berry said the money would be applied to supplying officers with Tasers — used to stun people in order to make apprehension easier.

“We’re probably one of the last departments in the state to equip our officers with them,” Berry said.

Added Portales Police Chief Jeff Gill: “We are going to put our officers through a rigid training process with certified instructors. We want to make sure we have the training in place to do it right.”

Also at the meeting, representatives from Phelps Engineering and Development Services in Denver gave a progress report on the study they’re conducting about reusing wastewater in Portales.

Jason Garside, a Phelps manager, estimated that Portales’ use of water is approximately 4 million gallons a day and 1 million gallons can be reused for a variety of purposes in the city. Garside presented several options, ranging from landscape irrigation or industrial use to strenuous purification processes to make the water potable again.

Phelps is expected to conclude its study at the end of September with a recommendation to the city about which option, or combination of options, are most cost effective and present the least amount of health risks to residents.