Construction officials hope to start repaving in March

By Tony Parra: Freedom Newspapers

PORTALES — Brazier Construction officials are hopeful to start repaving of New Mexico Highway 206 by mid-March. A three-mile portion of loose gravel leading into the town of Dora has left area residents and travelers to deal with poor road conditions throughout the winter.

Anthony Pacheco, a paving supervisor for the Colorado-based company, said once they begin laying the asphalt they will complete the work 60 to 90 days later. Pacheco said work on the $1.5 million highway project began Oct. 17.

Pacheco said the construction workers go through a process of recycling the asphalt and a melting machine along with cold asphalt material in laying the new surface. The contractor grinds three to four inches of old roadway, adds new oil, then lays pavement back in place. Pacheco said there is a three-mile portion leading into Dora which needs to be completed.

Steve Barron, interim superintendent and high school principal at Dora Municipal Schools, said the road conditions have caused damaged windshields to school vehicles.

“We had to replace windshields on a school bus and two Suburbans,” Barron said. “We’re going to file claims with the people who did the road.”

Barron said he spoke with New Mexico Department of Transportation officials, who directed him to Brazier Construction to file the claims.

“My concern is that we have so many students driving to school on the highway,” Barron said. “Our concern is for the safety of the students. We are concerned about the staff that drives down from Portales.”

Barron said there where potholes and the highway began to break apart after it was laid down.

According to Pacheco, Brazier tried to lay down the asphalt before the cold weather started but were unable to complete the project. Pacheco said the temperature must be above 40 degrees for the recycled paving material to be laid down successfully.

“All we can do is sweep anything off the road,” Pacheco said. “Unfortunately it left a three-mile portion open.”

The New Mexico State Police officials reported there have not been any accidents or incidents due to the road conditions.

Pacheco said construction workers ran into obstacles when they were trying to lay the new asphalt down.

“We made every effort to cover it,” Pacheco said. “Unfortunately windy weather, the Floyd fires and temperatures not being on our side kept us from being able to do it.”

Pacheco said five-to-seven miles of work was completed on part of the highway going from Portales to Dora, leaving the highway in smooth, excellent condition.