Governor praises community for effort on Hull Street rebuild
CNJ staff photo: Sharna Johnson Gov. Bill Richardson said the Hull Street bridge project came in around $1 million under bid, a vital cost savings in tough times.
Nearly a year and a half after state engineers closed Hull Street Bridge, a throng of more than 100 residents and a smattering of state dignitaries gathered Monday at the crest of the once thriving artery for a groundbreaking.
“You know you’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” Gov. Bill Richardson told a jubilant crowd. “Now it’s going to happen.”
The Hull Street Bridge was closed in July 2008 after a state engineer determined unsafe for traffic.
Since then, area leaders have lobbied the state for money to repair the bridge and get it reopened.
Richardson said the persistence of the community made the project come to fruition.
“I remember many of you coming to me and telling me how important this is,” he said.
“We finally got it done... Your community got this project and it’s going to save the taxpayers money.”
Richardson told the crowd the project came in around $1 million under bid, a vital cost savings in tough times.
About $2.3 million in federal and state transportation money is being coupled with $800,000 in federal stimulus money to make the project possible, he said.
The Hull Street Bridge connects Grand Avenue to the industrial south side of Clovis, providing a direct route to the Clovis Livestock Auction and several smaller businesses.
Without the overpass, traffic has been rerouted from Prince Street to Brady Avenue. Businesses situated on the south side of Hull Street had complained loss of the bridge cut into their traffic and revenue dramatically.
Monday’s stage was packed with local and state leaders from the mayor to city commissioners, senators, representatives and city department chiefs.
“There was a feeling of frustration,” City Commissioner Bobby Sandoval said.
“Today the feeling is of hope, and the feeling of gratitude, the feeling that there is light at the end of the tunnel, or in this case at the end of the bridge.”
Sandoval credited Mayor Gayla Brumfield with working relentlessly on the project, traveling to Santa Fe numerous times.
“We truly have a mayor that I can say works just as hard for the stockyards as she does for the golf course,” Sandoval said.
Exuberant, Rep. Jose Campos, D-Santa Rosa, revved up the crowd, cheering for the success in securing money for the bridge.
Campos is credited with pushing hard for the project in Santa Fe and keeping it in the forefront of state leader’s agendas.
“It’s going to happen now and congratulations community for getting this done,” he said.
“We need our local governments to push these projects... because we can’t do it ourselves.”
The group of about two dozen leaders joined with business owners and citizens affected by the bridge closure in shoveling a line of dirt at the front of the stage, commemorating the start of the reconstruction.
City Manager Joe Thomas said the bridge is expected to be ready before the end of 2010.