A sign is seen on Monday near the construction site for a pedestrian trail and plaza north of Main Street in Aztec.
A sign is seen on Monday near the construction site for a pedestrian trail and plaza north of Main Street in Aztec. (Jon Austria — The Daily Times)

AZTEC — Aztec City Commission are scheduled to vote at Tuesday's regular meeting on a $300,000 construction contract to build part of the city's next pedestrian trail.

The trail, about 1,500 feet in length and 10 feet wide, will lead northward from where the Hampton Arroyo spills into the Animas River to the nearly complete pedestrian bridge upstream. The trail is part of the city's push to make walking from historic downtown to the Aztec Ruins National Monument a reality.

H.O. Construction, Inc., an Albuquerque firm, has been approved to build the trail project. Work on the trail will begin as soon as RMCI, Inc., the firm in charge of the bridge project, has completed its project and removed all equipment and materials from the area, Aztec Project Manager Ed Kotyk said on Monday.

"We went through a punch list with RMCI and Ruins (officials), and they told us they could finish (the bridge project) by the end of next week," Kotyk said. "All the remaining rock work left to do there will get done this week. Once RMCI pulls out, we're anticipating H.O. can move in and begin work sometime later this month. They'll likely be done with the trail section by mid-August."

The trail will be a simple trail bed composed of a "poly-pavement" material — a soil stabilizer, mixed with local crusher fines that blends in with the rural surroundings, he said.

"It's the same kind of material that's been used at several national parks throughout the states," Kotyk said. "It's going to have a rough surface and will cost less than concrete. The question was, 'Do we want a concrete sidewalk in a rural area or do we want something that blends in better with the environment?' We went with the natural looking soil stabilizer."

The new segment will connect to a second portion of the trail that will lead southward from the Hampton Arroyo to the terminus of North Main Avenue. That portion is part of North Main Corridor project which will create a plaza area with a transit stop for events and shopping.

"The North Main plaza project is 60 percent done with engineering," Kotyk said. "Phase one of that could likely get going next spring. It will depend on the bottom line on the cost for the project. There's $330,000 from (a Federal Transit Administration grant) to help construct the bus transit and construct the trail and a foot bridge across the Hampton Arroyo."

H.O. Construction, Inc., has 45 days to complete the trail portion, or face a $500-per-day fine for every calendar day the project runs over, Aztec Finance Director Kathy Lamb said on Monday.

"The contractor, H.O., could ask for an extension, but it would depend on the conditions that may arise," Lamb said. "We'll work with H.O. to determine when their start date actually is, since we're can't have both firms (simultaneously) in the same area."

Money for the trail project will come from the Municipal Road Fund, part of the city's general fund, which comes from gross receipts and gas taxes, Lamb said.

James Fenton covers Aztec and Bloomfield for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4631 and jfenton@daily-times.com. Follow him @fentondt on Twitter.