Freedom Newspapers: Tony Bullocks
A.S. Horner employee Lupe Vasquez operates a piece of construction equipment Tuesday afternoon on First Street and Laughlin Avenue.
About five weeks in, the First Street road construction project is about to move into another phase.
Work has gone relatively smooth so far, according to First Street Project Superintendent Johnny Macias.
Crews are about to finish up the Interstate-40 interchange area to Washington Street, one of four phases of the project. The work consists of improving and replacing ramps, milling and repaving, utilities, storm drains, lighting, curb and gutter, sidewalk and wheelchair ramps.
Macias said the project, a continuance of work from 2005, has been an inconvenience to Tucumcari citizens, but they’ve been cooperative so far.
“The community has been great,” Macias said.
The project is slated to continue in its four phases through Oct. 15.
Significant traffic and access impacts are expected through the duration of the project. A.S. Horner is responsible for maintaining access to businesses within the affected area.
Macias said maintaining business entrances does slow down the work some, but it would be too much to ask for businesses to have no access for employees or customers.
“Most of the businesses have been working with us,” Macias said. “They understand. It’s hard for them, and it’s frustrating, but it’s the same way for us.”
The remaining three phases are:
• Maple Avenue intersection, through June 15. During this time, crews are working to mill and repave First Street from the railroad bridge to Maple and do deck sealing work as well.
• Main and First Street intersection, through July. The work involves the removal of existing pavement and installing storm drain, utilities, curb and gutter, sidewalks, new concrete pavement, new lighting and a traffic signal.
The intersection has been closed during the construction, and traffic has been detoured.
Northbound and southbound traffic is currently from Maple to Rock Island to Center and back to First Street. Eastbound and westbound travelers use Rock Island to Center, then back to Main.
• Route 66 and First Street intersection, April through October. The work includes the removal and replacement of concrete pavement, storm drains, utilities, curbs and gutters, sidewalks, wheelchair ramps, lighting and signals.
The work is being done in four quadrants. The northeast and southeast quadrants are scheduled for work until July 14. The northwest and southwest quadrants will see work from July 15 to Oct. 13.
The speed limit through construction zones is 25 mph, with a double fine zone where employees are present.
Meetings for the project are held at 9 a.m. every Wednesday at the Tucumcari Police Department. Residents can also call Macias (461-3354) or Tommy Garcia (461-4619) with questions.