QCS Photo: Chelle Delaney
Chano Chavez crosses Main Street which is scheduled to be open to through traffic this afternoon.
This afternoon, there will be a grand opening of Main Street. Those orange construction barrels barring traffic on Main Street will have departed. Cars and trucks will again be able to use long-blocked Main Street. You'll be able to go east and west and and north over the overpass onto state highway 104. That's the good news from Johnny Macias, project superintendent for A.S. Horner Construction Co.
“It’ll be good. It should bring back business,” said Tiffany Calbert, manager of Security Finance at the intersection of Main and First.
Since improvements on First Street began in April there has been no through traffic on Main Street between Second and Adams streets.
Now, “they can come east and west, but they still won’t be able to go south,” Macias said.
At this phase of the project, Macias said, “We’re on the homestretch. It’s looking really good for us. It should be completed by Nov. 22, except for the ... seal coat on the asphalt. We’ll have to wait until summer — for the right temperature — to do that.”
The 2.8-mile project, which was estimated to cost about $12 million, will end up costing about $15 million, Macias said.
That’s because of the material underneath the road, he said. “We ended up having to take out two feet more and replacing it with sand,” he said, explaining that the clay that was removed would not hold up the heavy construction equipment.
Some of the work in this final phase includes paving the intersections of Main and First streets and Route 66 and First streets with concrete, he said.
“That’s just due to the heavy traffic and the heavy semis that travel those intersections,” Macias said.
Meanwhile, the intersection of Charles and First streets has yet to be completed, Macias said, because the telecommunications company, Qwest, has not completed work on its fiber-optic cables that travel through the intersection.
As the project winds down, that means there will be fewer jobs in Tucumcari.
For example, 75 people have been working on the project. Of those about 20 are from out of town, and the other 55 are from the Tucumcari or surrounding area, Macias said.
The weekly payroll for the workers, who have been on the job about 10 hours a day for six days a week, comes to between $48,000 and $50,000, Macias said.
And Macias said he planned to take some of the local workers with him on his next job, but it wouldn’t affect the local economy.
“It should be a better deal for Tucumcari, because they’ll be coming (with their paychecks) back to Tucumcari,” Macias said.