IF YOU GO
What: Simonds Road construction meeting
When: 5 to 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 7
Where: Public Works conference room, 610 Western Dr., in Aztec
More info: Call 505-334-7660
AZTEC — Aztec Public Works Department will hold an informational meeting on Thursday for residents who will be impacted by upcoming construction on Simonds Road.
The entire road, including the structural support two feet below the existing surface, will be rebuilt from Aztec Boulevard to Riverview Road.
The construction project will also include new curb, gutter and sidewalk on the west side of the street. Vehicles will be restricted from entering the roadway during construction. The road work is scheduled to begin in late August or early September after design plans and environmental impact studies are completed, said Public Works Director Bill Watson.
Watson hand-delivered notices of the meeting to residents along Simonds Road last week.
"It's a gathering so citizens can come in and ask questions, and they can talk to the engineers. Clayton (Harrison of CHC Engineers in Durango, engineer for the road project) and I will be there. There'll be coffee and cookies. It's just an informal meeting," Watson said.
When construction of the half-a-century-old roadway begins, residents along Simonds and adjoining streets will face the challenge of finding places to park their cars. Watson said the residents he spoke to were willing to endure the inconvenience and thankful the road was finally getting redone.
"I went door to door to talk with people who live along the road and for the most part they were all excited about it," Watson said. "The one bad thing about the road is that we have to remove all the subgrade, take it out to about two feet, put in backfill and special matting for strength. It'll be a big improvement for the road, but it's going to be tricky. They'll have to find an alternative place to park their cars. The residents I talked to dismissed any inconvenience as far as parking."
The road is buckled and caving in on the west side of the street, is bordered by overgrown weeds and has portions of missing or crumbled curbs.
Watson thinks the road failed because of poor materials used years ago or because of conditions in the soil — or the soil itself — that resulted in the street ranking so high on its list of important repairs.
He said that, once begun, construction should be completed in 60 days.
The project, which is being partially funded by a $130,000 grant from the state's Department of Transportation, has been delayed by department requirements for an environmental study and a public meeting, Aztec Projects Manager Ed Kotyk said. Initially, the road project was slated to be finished by July 1.
Retired oil field worker Pete Blea has lived on Simonds Road for 20 years with his wife and disabled grandson and said he plans on attending the meeting on Thursday.
"It is going to be hard on everybody. If you have to give two months at least, you've got to sacrifice a little," Blea said. "It'll be a hard deal for everybody. This is every generation of people living here. It puts a hurt on everybody, though in long run, it'll be worth it."
James Fenton covers Aztec and Bloomfield for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4631 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him @fentondt on Twitter.