Construction all wet

Rain has delayed construction projects on Prince Street and thoughout Curry County. The city has received more than 3.5 inches of rain in the last nine days. CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks

By Tonya Fennell: CNJ staff writer

Nearly daily afternoon and evening rains are hampering street and building construction projects in the city.

Ken Barnett, president of K. Barnett and Sons, said his company has 25 projects in different stages of construction and all are experiencing delays due to the weather. For the first time since the daily thunderstorms began, Barnett was forced to send his workers home on Monday.

“We can’t build on top of mud,” Barnett said.

Clovis has received more than 3.5 inches of rain in the last nine days, according to acuweather.com.

Barnett, whose company is handling the construction of the N.M. 467 railroad overpass, said if it was going to rain it came at a good time for the $3.6 million project because the earth work was complete. However, the next phase of the project, which involves building the steel frame for the bridge, hasn’t begun because there is no dry land to unload the materials. To remain on schedule, the bridge crew plans to utilize a dry yard at K. Barnett’s site to assemble the pieces and transport the steel work to the site, Barnett said.

“We are still hoping to have it (overpass) complete by the end of November,” he said.

Meanwhile, the North Prince Street drainage project remains on schedule, Barnett said.

According to the Clovis construction company owner, the wet season is always taken into consideration before a bid is written.

“We spend a lot of time talking about the weather,” Barnett said, “and spend a lot of money on weather services.”

Ed Perales said his remodeling business also tries to plan around the rain.

“I try to keep a few weeks of inside work planned,” Perales said, “but I’m quickly running out.”

Perales said the inclement weather causes lumber to curl up and makes navigating construction sites precarious.

“I’m having to make trails of plastic (for workers to walk on),” Perales said, “and make sure the lumber is covered up.”

Randall Crowder said the biggest problem associated with the rain is the mess.

“It’s sloppy,” the Clovis construction company owner said, “but there is nothing we can do except wait for it to dry up.”

Crowder said bricklayers and concrete workers are affected most by the wet weather.

“They are simply off work,” Crowder said.

Tim Ashley said he takes advantage of the construction break by offering his concrete truck drivers hours to perform maintenance duties.
“We use this time for general cleanup,” Ashley said, “and getting ahead on preventive maintenance.”

While no income is generated from maintenance, he said it is something that has to be done. “It’s just the cost of doing business,” Ashley said.

Although construction grinds to a halt when the weather turns bad, Ashley said business picks up dramatically once the sun comes out.

“It is like a snowball effect,” he said. “There’s always a big rush once the weather clears up.”