With Portales road construction blocking the front entrance to multiple businesses located on U.S. 70 (also known as Chicago Avenue), consumers have been taking four to six block detours to enter business parking lots.
The project is repaving both sides of the four-lane road from Kilgore Street to Boulder Avenue.
Despite the inconvenient detours, local business owners said their revenue has been hurt little.
“It’s been basically the same,” said All-N-One Car Wash owner Mario Montoya. “The only thing that affected me was the weather, but the construction hasn’t really made a difference.”
Rosario Olguin, owner of Carniceria El Milagro Restaurante, said to-go orders were the only thing affected with her business.
“Of course it would affect any business,” Olguin said of the construction. “A lot of people who would call in to-go orders wouldn’t come to pick them up because of having to go around.”
Olguin’s son, Victor, said the customers who dine-in have remained loyal and continued coming, which has made the loss of business minor.
“I just tell my customers to come the back way,” Montoya said of his business. “I’m happy because they just opened up one side again.”
Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce Director Karl Terry said the complaints he has heard about the road work have been few and far between and any problems with business access, the chamber has tried to help with quickly and efficiently.
“We’re wanting to make sure everyone’s informed about it and we’re working on some other plans to help our businesses muddle through it,” Terry said. “We want to try to inform people as they are getting to town. Hopefully, easy access can be provided to restaurants and businesses. We want to make sure we don’t have a situation that festers.”
Terry said for the remainder of the current road work and for the road project beginning immediately following it in the spring, the chamber is hoping to place signs along the highway and the main roads directing people on how to get through town and into specific businesses.
“It’s going to be much more extensive and tougher on our businesses,” Terry said. “We want to be able to be a conduit between the parties that are experiencing loss to their business and the people working on the project. We want to be the conduit that makes things go as smoothly as possible.”
Gary Lowman, owner of Muffler Galaxy, said his businesses has been affected slightly, but he feels it is well worth it to have nice roads in Portales.
“I can’t really say it’s been down much but there has been a slight decrease,” Lowman said. “It’s been hard for people to get in. It was even hard for me to get in. But the thing about it is, once they have this road done, it will be so much nicer, so we really can’t complain.”
Roads have opened up again for the time being as construction crews have temporarily cleared.
Portales City Manager Tom Howell said he knows the project is not complete but believes crews have stopped due to either weather or the holidays.
K Barnett & Sons and state highway officials could not be reached for comment.