City officials plan road improvements

CNJ staff photo: Benna Sayyed City Engineer Justin Howalt, left, and Danton Bean, senior structural engineer for HDR Engineering Inc., right, look over portions of Mabry Drive up for repair in 2012. Mabry will be repaired between South Prince and Norris street Improvements will include stripping the old pavement and repaving the road and installing turbine gutters and sidewalks.

Benna Sayyed

Clovis is planning major road improvements this year that infrastructure experts say will make streets more urban and provide a smoother ride.

City Engineer Justin Howalt said the biggest repairs will be made to Llano Estacado between North Prince Street and Norris Street and to U.S. 60-70-84 (Mabry Driver) from South Prince Street to Norris Street.

“Llano Estacado and U.S. 60-70-84 are in bad shape right now,” Howalt said. “The pavement is alligator cracking. It’s rutting. It’s popping out. We have pot holes. Llano Estacado floods when we do get rain. All that will be cleaned up.”

The Llano Estacado project includes removing existing pavement, reworking the base and putting down new pavement.

A system of storm drains will also be installed. This system will collect water as it moves down Llano Estacado and channel it into Goodwin Playa in the Goodwin Trails area. Improvements will be made to the sidewalk on the north side of the roadway to comply with federal disability laws.

“With the storm drainage improvements we’re going to be collecting that water along the route. Instead of carrying it in the streets we’re going to be carrying it in underground piping so that will increase the safety of the road and make it more passable during rain,” Howalt said.

The Llano Estacado project will cost $1.7 million, $225,000 of which will come from the state. The remainder will be paid for by the city. Howalt said work on Llano Estacado should start at the end of February or beginning of March, when the weather is warmer. He said the project is expected to be completed in August.

According to Howalt, the public works department is working with the New Mexico Department of Transportation to start repairs on U.S. 60-70-84 in November. He said requests for proposals are being made through NMDOT.

The U.S. 60-70-84 project will include pavement rehabilitation similar to the Llano Estacado project. Curbs and gutters and sidewalks will be installed on various portions of 60-70-84 as well.

Intersection improvements will be made to Norris Street and U.S. 60-70-84, potentially adding a right turn for southbound traffic that often backs up when trains pass through the area. Conditions at the intersection of Hickory and First Street will also be improved.

Howalt said the project will cost $3 million, of which $2.5 is federal money and the city and state are paying for the remainder.

Howalt said the roadwork won’t close any roads; traffic control will shift traffic into one lane. The Llano Estacado project could close two lanes and use one lane in each direction. This could happen during storm drain installation to keep traffic a safe distance from trenches.

“You’ll definitely want to anticipate the delay due to the traffic control situations as well as the reduced number of lanes. You’re going to be putting more traffic or the same amount of traffic through less lanes. You’ll want to account for that in your schedules. We’ll do public announcements once we get closer,” Howalt said.

Danton Bean, senior structural engineer for HDR Engineering Inc., the company working the U.S. 60-70-84 project, said he has not encountered issues during his previous projects in Clovis.

“We’re looking forward to the project and we’re excited. We’ve done rural type projects. We’ve done urban type projects. This project fits right into the type of work that we do and we like to do,” Bean said.

HDR Engineering Inc. designed the Hull Street bridge and the New Mexico 467 bridge.

Other smaller projects scheduled for 2012 will aim to improve Norris Street between Llano Estacado and Wilhite Road and Martin Luther King Drive between 21st Street and Llano Estacado.

Howalt said MLK Drive could receive additional lighting due to its proximity to Plains Regional Medical Center.

Both projects will take about a year to design. After the design stage, Howalt’s team will start searching for construction dollars. A traffic study and analysis are now in progress to ensure the proper number of lanes are in place. The Norris and MLK Drive projects will change the rural two-lane section to an urban section to include turbine gutters, sidewalks and storm drains.

Howalt said the estimated cost of each project is $4 million.

Another road project set to start toward the end of January will be a guardrail replacement at the intersection of Hull and Second streets on the north side of the bridge.