Anger and adaptation were two reactions from the public and government officials over closure of the westbound lanes of the Greene Street Bridge in Carlsbad.
The New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) said the closure could last six months as crews work on a $1 million replacement and repair project over the bridge that is a major transportation route from Hobbs to Carlsbad.
Westbound traffic was detoured to the George Shoup Relief Route as NMDOT was in the process of coordinating an alternate traffic control plan, read an NMODT news release.
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Some Carlsbad residents expressed outrage that the work may not be finished until early 2023 on the Carlsbad 411 Facebook page.
“(The) north side of town is finally going to see how the south side has felt for the last 7 to 8 years with traffic,” wrote Jamie L. Suggs.
Mark Urquidez, who wrote he travels the route for work, said he may have to use New Mexico 128 return to Carlsbad.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway said blockage of Greene Street was unacceptable and the City would work with NMDOT to improve upon an alternate traffic control plan.
“The most common question we are being asked is why the two remaining eastbound lanes on the bridge, which remain open, aren’t being split into a single eastbound and single westbound lane during this construction period,” he wrote in a Wednesday column submitted to the Current-Argus.
City of Carlsbad Fire Department Chief Richard Lopez said emergency personnel, like others in the City, would adapt to the detours during the construction’s duration.
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He said the Fire Department factored traffic bottlenecks or disruptions on nearby streets into response plans. Lopez said problems could occur traveling west back to respective fire stations in the city limits. Eastbound traffic would not be impacted.
He said the City operated five fire stations in the city limits. Fire Station No. 3 located at 1027 North Halagueno Street near Pierce and Canal Streets is the station affected most by the construction.
“The North Station is going to be an issue. Congestion in that area could slow down a response,” he said.
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Lopez said the fire station responds to emergency calls in the northern and eastern sections of Carlsbad.
Eddy County Sheriff Mark Cage said construction would have minimal impact on deputies and their ability to respond to law enforcement situations.
“Leaving town might give us a little more trouble but we tend to use rural routes when possible,” he said.
Lopez said the construction is a problem for the short term, and that in the future he said Carlsbad commuters would benefit from the repair and replacement work.
“It’s part of growing pains. We navigate around it. Anytime you get back to a normal smooth flow it’s nice,” he said.
Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at [email protected] or @ArgusMichae on Twitter.