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City shares planned infrastructure improvements; Topics covered include smart meters, Del Norte plans, tackling speeding

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This color-coded graphic shows the proposed projects for fiscal years 2018-2019. All of the projects in this graphic are north of Second Street. (Courtesy of City Engineer Louis Najar)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

At the Roswell City Council’s special meeting on May 24 and at an infrastructure committee on May 29, City Engineer Louis Najar presented graphics showing planned infrastructure projects around the city for 2018-2019 fiscal year.

This graphic shows all of the infrastructure projects south of Second Street. (Courtesy of City Engineer Louis Najar)

After explaining the two color-coded graphics, Najar said one covered work above Second Street and one below — because of Roswell’s vertical orientation. Councilor Caleb Grant said the graphic was a “good snapshot” of the work going on all around the city.

At the special meeting, City Manager Joe Neeb said the city is “challenged all the time” with citizens saying one side of town is favored over another when it comes to improvements and repairs.

“A majority of our budget really is defined as improvements within our system,” Neeb said. “And so, I just wanted to share these two slides with you because — it’s rough when we’re out there trying to do really good work, and we’re second-guessed or we’re trying to figure out, ‘Well why aren’t we doing work in this area?’

“I mean we have 350 miles of streets. We can’t get them all at one time and so the idea is try to get that all planned out.”

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Five years of future infrastructure

Planning Manager Bill Morris walked the infrastructure committee through the Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan (ICIP) ending in 2024. The city is requesting $216,000,000 from the state over the next five years. The ICIP PowerPoint presentation on the City Manager’s page of the city’s website (roswell-nm.gov) states that projects will be considered for approval at the August city council meeting.

Morris said the top five projects — for legislative allocations support with capital outlay — are as follows: road reconstruction of Union and Washington, a bridge replacement at South Lea Avenue and West Deming Street, replacing large diameter water valves, 74 miles of asbestos-water line replacement, and cleaning up the fire department training center at West Brasher Road and South Sunset Avenue.

For future projects down the list, Morris said the city is keeping Stiles Park & Ball Field at 800 S. Wyoming Avenue in mind for an irrigation system replacement and installing lights at Cielo Grande Recreation Area on West College Boulevard, while also incorporating ‘sports complex’ into the title.

Smart Meters go to school

Najar said the smart water meters are being installed in schools now that the school year has come to a close and Project Manager Kevin Dillon is working around the summer school schedule.

“We have done about half, or about three-quarters of the meters in the school district,” Dillon said. “There’s just a few left that we have to do. “

Dillon said figuring out times with the district has delayed the plan somewhat and that the schools require larger meters with installation from a specialty crew.

Del Norte school plans

Plans for Roswell Independent School Districts’ complete reconstruction of Del Norte Elementary School are still underway and there are ongoing conversations between Roswell Independent School District and the city. Najar said RISD has been invited to the infrastructure committee meetings and Grant said he has reached out to the school board.

As per RISD’s request, Najar said the city completed a traffic study for Garden Avenue May 25 and that North Garden Avenue has about 6,200 vehicles per day. He said the traffic counters were placed across Garden at the empty lot between Goddard and Del Norte, and between Del Norte and East Mescalero Road. The data will go to Smith Engineering.

Dillion said with 800 students, most of the traffic would be for the school itself.

Dillon said there are definite concerns over Del Norte Elementary’s plan for controlling pick-up and drop-off traffic. He said the city is offering suggestions, such as a cut street for buses between Del Norte park and the school, to keep the current design feasible.

Addressing speeding issues

Najar said the city is continuing to draft a traffic calming policy. Grant asked for state-specific traffic calming policies and Najar said they would examine Farmington and Albuquerque’s at the next meeting.

The three speeding control options discussed were placing a police car in high speeding areas, construction speed awareness monitors, or speed humps or cushions on residential streets.

Najar said there could be a ‘speed control menu’ for the neighborhood to select from and the council would decide if citizens would help pay or not.

Councilor Jeanine Corn Best said she could see a progression where neighborhoods start with a car, then the monitors, with the last resort including potentially paying for speed humps and bumps.

City/RISD reporter Alison Penn can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at reporter04@rdrnews.com.

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