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By Mary Alice Murphy

Dirk Holtman, project manager from TLC Company Inc., the contractor on the NM 15, also known as Pinos Altos Road through the middle of Silver City between U.S. 180 and 32nd Street, explained the project will reconstruct the road, widen it and add storm drains and water lines between U.S. 180 and 32nd Street.

Grey Meyer is the Project Superintendent from TLC staying locally. NM DOT District 1 Project Manager is Brian P. Torres, with Alma Quintana, the NM DOT project office manager. Bryan Johnsen is the traffic control supervisor for TLC.

Holtman said the informational meetings would be held in the even-numbered months on the second Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Grant County Veterans Memorial Business and Conference Center. The next meeting is slated for June 13.

"We will be putting in curb and gutter, 72 light poles, storm drains and a new water line to Pine Street," Holtman said. "The entire road will be widened, especially in the southern part below Pine Street. Sidewalks, gutter and bike lanes will be on both sides of the road except near McDonald's and the gas station."

Holtman said TLC is out of Albuquerque and has about 550 employees, with one-third of their projects being roads, one-third plumbing and HVAC and one-third commercial construction.

He said changes to the roadway under reconstruction, will be available on NMRoads.com.

"Soon it will be northbound only," Holtman said.

Northbound only will begin on Monday, April 16. That is the day TLC will begin the storm sewer construction on Kimberly, which will close the street for about six weeks to through traffic.

"There will always be traffic on Pinos Altos Road," Holtman answered a question. "It will be mostly northbound, but there will be access to businesses."

He noted that because it is an older road that hasn't had much construction, "there will always be surprises when we start digging. We will be putting in conduit for the streetlights and in case a signal light is ever needed at Pine. We're doing that now, so in the future we won't have to tear up the road again."

Although the project was slated to begin on the southern portion of the road, PNM has not moved the power poles on the east side of the lower portion of the road. "They had plenty of time, but they still haven't done it. We are also trying to be careful of CenturyLink fiber optics. PNM is blocking the space, as well as the McDonald's sewer line construction."

A woman asked why Silver City Police were helping with traffic control, since it is a state highway.

It was explained that it is a state road under city jurisdiction.

Holtman talked about the change to the five-way intersection at Pine. "The state bought the brown house at market value a couple of houses south of Ranch Club on P.A. Road. A cut-through will allow a street to be built to lead into Bosworth from NM 15. The current north end of Bosworth will be closed off and become a parking lot."

The present schedule from April 1-May 8 will create the detour paving from 180 to Pine. During that time TLC will begin the storm drain work on Kimberly and work will start from NM 180 to Kimberley and from Pine to 32nd Street.

Although the water line from 180 to Pine belongs to Silver City, TLC will be upgrading it as part of the contract. Bixby, a sub-contractor, will put in the 72 street lights.

The project is slated to last 16 months, "depending on PNM and the weather," Holtman said.

Detours from north of Silver City lead people onto 32nd street going both directions. Those approaching NM 15 from the south are also encouraged to choose alternate routes. Silver and Swan streets are the next two north-south streets to the west of P.A. Road. Silver City is scheduled to begin work on the three blocks of Silver Street closest to 180. Once it begins, it should be complete in August 2018.

Live from Silver City

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