Drainage problem floods roundabout

By Marlena Hartz: CNJ staff writer

Unforeseen drainage problems at the new roundabout on Llano Estacado Boulevard and Norris Street will require an extra $18,000 to fix, according to Clovis Public Works Director Harry Wang.

“There is no outlet for water, and it gets caught in the terrain,” said Wang, who successfully petitioned the City Commission Thursday for additional city funds to remedy the problem.

For water to drain underground, a drop inlet is needed on the northeast side of the intersection, city officials said.

The city had reserved about $50,000 for drainage work at the roundabout. But the northeast drainage issue was not anticipated by the engineers hired for the project, Lydick Engineers and Surveyors of Clovis, Wang said.

When it rains, the roundabout area resembles “a major canal,” Clovis Mayor David Lansford said. The flooding, he said, could have easily been avoided with a little engineering foresight.

“It makes the city look incompetent,” Lansford said. “We are the ones that look bad.”

The unforeseen roundabout costs are not the first the city has encountered after a project has been deemed complete, Clovis Purchasing Agent David Boswell said. In fact, there have been many cost overruns for the city this year, he said.

The problem: Responses for bids on city projects are weak, with only one or two companies generally responding, he said.

“We are trying to attract some good quality firms,” he said, as well as increase the number of firms willing to bid on projects in Clovis, which some firms view as puny when compared to bigger projects available in bigger cities.

Said Clovis Commissioner Randy Crowder, there are some unforeseen cost issues that are unavoidable, simply “a little bit out of our hands.”

The owner of Lydick Engineers and Surveyors, Chad Lydick, did not return phone calls Thursday evening from the Clovis News Journal.

Also at Thursday’s meeting:

• Commissioners adopted an ordinance that will prevent abandoned or junked vehicles from being stored in front yards. The ordinance amends an older one, which allowed abandoned and junked vehicles to be stored in front yards if covered by a tarp.

• Commissioners renewed a joint proclamation between Portales and Clovis, which deems the cities a “micropolitan” statistical area. The proclamation allows the cities to recruit businesses using merged population statistics, officials said.

• Commissioners approved a motion to entertain bids to sell a portion of city-owned land on North Prince Street. The land was purchased for drainage plans, but is no longer needed, City Manager Joe Thomas said.

• Commissioners granted residents permission to hold a parade on May 1 starting on Main Street at 14th Street to Grand Avenue, along Grand to Mitchell Street, then up Mitchell to 14th. The paraders are marching for immigration reform, said spokeswoman Veronica Diaz.

• Clovis firefighter Joel Gershon was recognized as the Eagles Firefighter of the Year by Clovis Fire Chief Ray Westerman.