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Public Works Committee prioritizes road projects

link Staff photo: Tony Bullocks

The intersection of Seventh and Maple streets is along a 1.5-mile stretch of road between Main and Norris streets that the Clovis Public Works Committee identified as its top road improvement priority.

Staff writer

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The Clovis Public Works Committee, after light discussion about individual projects, sent the city commission its recommended ranking on 13 road improvements they see as most necessary for the city.

The city doesn’t have the money to do all 13 projects, which carry projected costs of $53 million, so City Engineer Justin Howalt asked the committee members to list their priorities on each project. One point was given for first-place rankings, two points for second-place, and so on, and Howalt ordered the projects from fewest points to most.

According to the list Howalt presented during the committee’s Wednesday meeting, the highest-ranked project by far is a 1.5-mile stretch of Seventh Street from Main to Norris streets; it’s an estimated $5.5 million project to reconstruct and widen the streets while making sidewalk and drainage improvements.

The next two projects, respectively, are 1-mile stretches of Wilhite Road (from Prince to Norris) and 21st Street (from Wheaton Street to Martin Luther King Boulevard), with the same scope of work.

Committee member Terry Moberly said he had concerns about the condition of some roads that were ranked low on the list.

“There are a couple of roads that are getting in bad shape,” Moberly said. “What happens if we have another bad winter?”

Howalt said road maintenance would be ongoing, but the list was generally looking at the roads in terms of major construction.

Committee member Rudy Garcia noted that a high priority should be placed on adding clear street lining and sidewalks along Martin Luther King Boulevard because the ditch on the road’s west side presents a danger. Howalt said the striping could be handled through the public works budget, and City Manager Joe Thomas said, if necessary, larger improvements could happen as a Community Development Block Grant project.

The listing, Howalt said, is a guide and by no means set in stone, meaning the city could use leftover money to tackle a single aspect of a lower-ranked road if that is a pressing need by itself.

The city commission would likely decide on the list during its Nov. 6 meeting.

Roadway prioritization approved by the public works committee. The Clovis city commission has final say on the list.

Street Miles Projected cost

(boundaries) covered (in millions)

1. Seventh St. (Main to Norris) 1.5 $5.5

2. Wilhite Rd. (Prince to Norris) 1.0 $5.0

3. 21st St. (Wheaton to MLK) 1.0 $4.0

4. Wheaton St. (60/84 to 21st) 1.0 $4.0

5. MLK Blvd. (Grand to 21st) 1.3 $4.5

6. Thornton St. (14th to 21st) 0.5 $2.0

7. Humphrey/21st Intersection N/A $2.5

8. Norris St. (21st to Llano) 1.0 $2.0

9. Llano Estacado Blvd. (Norris to Humphrey) 1.0 $4.0

10. Prince (Mabry to 10th) 0.6 $6.0

11. Humphrey Rd. (21st to Mabry) 1.6 $5.5

12. Humphrey Rd. (Llano to 21st) 1.0 $4.0

13. 21st St. (Norris to Humphrey) 1.0 $4.0

Scope of work

1-5, 9-13: Reconstruct, Widen roads, sidewalks, drainage

6: Reconstruct, drainage, sidewalks

7: Intersection alignment, drainage

8: Mill and resurface, sidewalks

In other business at Wednesday’s Public Works Committee meeting:

• The committee approved a recommendation to approve a deal Howalt struck with Central Baptist Church on a sewer easement.

In exchange for the easement, which Howalt said would allow for city sewer services to homes on Remuda Drive, the church would receive credit for five free sewer taps in the future.

“I don’t anticipate they would ever use the full five,” Thomas said. “I would anticipate two or three structures in the future.”

• Howalt gave a general update on other projects. He said the Llano Estacado-Thornton street lights are done, with the exception of adding a device that can temporarily give priority to emergency vehicles responding to a call. Design is 30 percent complete on Wilhite Road upgrades, with a public meeting coming in November. Bidding is set to begin in March for improvements to Mabry Drive. The first meeting was held for the city’s master drainage plan, with completion expected in about a year. Finally, he expected the certification process would begin in about three weeks for the new cell at the city landfill.

• John King, operations director for Clovis Municipal Schools, gave an update on projects around the district.

He said the new James Bickley Elementary building is 60 percent complete, and work on the playground for Zia Elementary is under way. He is waiting on memorandums of understanding for a new Parkview Elementary and for roof projects at Cameo Elementary and Yucca Middle School.

King said the city has received a claim for the property where the previous Lockwood Elementary was located. Thomas said a warning system that was set up next to the now-demolished building will likely be moved to the Wilson youth baseball field so it doesn’t interfere with future development.

• Madrid mentioned to the group that he drives most days on Purdue Avenue and notices people rarely even slow down at the school zones by Clovis High School. Howalt and Lt. Roman Romero of the Clovis Police Department said it was less a matter of signage and more a combination of younger drivers and people who just ignore the school zones.

On the general topic of school zones, King mentioned that some school zones don’t have flashing lights on both sides to indicate the 15 mph zones. He called the issue problematic for drivers who enter the zone before the lights begin to flash, and don’t know they’re speeding until they leave the zone or they’re pulled over by law enforcement, and noted it’s happened to him while he’s driving a school-issued vehicle. Howalt said he could look into retrofitting lights on both sides of signs where needed.

• The November meeting is tentatively canceled. The December meeting has yet to be scheduled, but would likely be held Dec. 17.