Editorial: U.S. 70 work long time to do, but worth wait

Reality sets in when road construction folks tell Portales residents to buckle up. The $8.3 million, 18-month project through Portales proper will begin in less than three weeks.

On May 14, the sorely needed reconstruction of the timeworn four-lane highway that dissects the community will begin.

It will include jackhammers tearing out old concrete in the road base and curbs and gutters, and one-way traffic clogging sections of the main artery for weeks and months on end.

Some work will be done at night, which could further unsettle residents not used to hearing construction noises then.

Yes, the work may cause limited access problems for area businesses, said David Shoup, CEO of Constructors Inc., the Carlsbad company overseeing the federal-and-state funded project. But he reiterated a key point in Monday night's informational meeting at the memorial building:

They want to minimize concerns and they need to hear from the public so those issues can be addressed.

A project schedule and map is being finalized and should be posted online and in this newspaper and elsewhere by the end of the week, Shoup and others said.

No matter how thorough state, local and construction officials plan, there is little doubt that something will occur that leads to public angst or upset.

We know that from work on the other end of the U.S. 70 improvement project that's just being completed by another company.

How well solutions can be solved, quickly, will help determine the volume of public outcry.

Here's hoping the congestion, which will undoubtedly happen, is kept to a minimum.

Time will tell if that happens, but one thing is certain: In August 2014, when work is scheduled to be done, a better roadway will be a welcome addition to town.

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