The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

City officials question lights


PNT senior writer

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Portales officials are questioning the validity of the statement made by a U.S. 70 project official about issues with the street lights in downtown.

In response to a complaint about the light fixtures not having a large enough clearance for large trucks, New Mexico Department of Transportation’s Pat Garcia told the Portales City Council Tuesday that the design of lights was approved by the Portales MainStreet Board.

Puzzled looks read across the faces of City Manager Doug Redmond and other MainStreet Board officials, because they said they do not recall approving any light fixtures for that area of the project.

As the end of the second phase of the $8.3 million project nears, councilors told Garcia there had been complaints of trucks hitting the light fixtures, which are a little less than 15 feet tall.

When Councilor Matt Hunton, a business owner in downtown Portales, said he believed construction workers used the wrong lights, Garcia assured councilors that no mistake was made, claiming MainStreet was the group who designed the lights.

“Is there a document that shows the Portales MainStreet Committee approved that?” asked City Attorney Steve Doerr who is also a member of MainStreet. “I don’t remember deciding about the height.”

Because the lights sit on breakaway poles, councilors fear trucks knocking the light fixtures causing a safety issue, especially for pedestrians.

“We need to be proactive and get it changed while it’s in the construction phase,” said Councilor Leo Lovett.

Mayor Pro-Tem Ronald Jackson suggested the city hold a meeting with NMDOT to address the design issue.

Garcia said the contractor of the project, Constructors, Inc., will break until March after this week.

In the meantime, Redmond promised councilors he’d investigate the matter to find who was responsible for the lights.

“This is very concerning to us,” Redmond said.


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