AZTEC — Work at Light Plant Road and Aztec Boulevard will start rolling again soon.
After a delayed start last summer and a winter break with some progress in January, the final phase of the New Mexico Department of Transportation project will begin next month.
The remaining work that was originally planned to begin in spring was held off until after the end of the school year. Officials now expect the project to take most of this summer to complete. It is scheduled to wrap up by Aug. 1.
State workers will return on June 2 to tear up the northern half of the intersection, install storm sewer manholes and sewer lines, drop inlets or catch basins and enlarge curbs and gutters on the northwest corner to provide an easier turning radius for traffic.
Officials decided against replacing two antiquated acequia junction boxes the size of refrigerators on the intersection's southern corners that connect an underground irrigation line because they did not interfere with the new turning lanes there, said Paul Brasher, engineer for the state department's District 5 office.
"We will have all the turning lanes open all the time, but there may be short periods of time when you will not be able to make a turn like normal conditions when traveling east and turning left (at North Light Plant Road) during major excavation," Brasher said. "This intersection is just fraught with underground unknowns. We're really hoping that people use the roads cautiously and are patient with the project. It may be painful, but when it's done, they'll see it as greatly improved."
The $1.1 million project's cost increased by $60,000, primarily for delays attributed to unknown infrastructure discovered underground, Brasher said.
Crews will be on site from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday until Aug. 1 to complete the work.
"If things work out, and especially if it turns out that optimal conditions arise, some night work may occur," Brasher said.
For more information and updates on the project, call DOT District 5 spokeswoman Rosanne Rodriguez at 505-995-7704 or go to www.dot.state.nm.us.