Shipment delays on specialty construction materials prompted a work delay for a major bridge east of Carlsbad, said a New Mexico Department of Transportation official.
Francisco Sanchez, New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) District 2 engineer from Roswell, said repairs on the Greene Street Bridge were expected to begin in October, but that timeline was pushed to Nov. 14.
“When you’re dealing with a bridge some of those (materials) are specialty parts that we need to repair that bridge. In this instance it was a challenge as our original start date was Oct. 15. That Nov. 14 date is pretty accurate and firm we have confirmed those materials would be in by that day,” he said.
Challenges in acquiring construction materials were not unique to NMDOT. New Mexico Sen. David Gallegos (R-41) is a senior superintendent with Ramirez and Sons General and Paving Contractors from Hobbs. He said shipping delays of construction materials increased costs for government and private contractors.
“Prices have exceeded our expectations. What we’re having to do is go back and resubmit cost estimates on the product value and the timeline because both of those affect those jobs,” he said.
“We’ve got multiple jobs that we actually had to take partial receipt of materials on one and then find local (materials) for the rest because the timeline was going to be another two months out and that was just recently,” Gallegos added.
He said supply chain problems hampered the construction industry statewide.
“After COVID (-19) people just didn’t want to go back to work and so we’ve got delays in manufacturing we’ve got delays in deliveries with the drivers that we need. The shipping issues from China to California. There are a lot of things in the supply chain that aren’t controlled by the U.S. I would hope in some point in time we take control of that,” Gallegos said.
COVID-19 lockdowns in China and the Russia-Ukraine war created shifts in demand, labor shortages and structural factors affected supply demand in certain sectors including consumer goods, metals, food, chemicals and commodities, according to the J.P. Morgan Financial Services website.
What’s next for Greene Street Bridge?
Concern about the safety of the bridge started nearly three months ago as deteriorating concrete on the northside of the bridge began to fail.
Sanchez said the estimated cost of repairs for the bridge reached nearly $1 million. The bridge is part of U.S. Highway 62/180, an east-west route for passenger and commercial traffic traveling between Carlsbad, Hobbs and communities in West Texas.
It also acts as a travel route for workers at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) nuclear repository near Carlsbad.
Sanchez estimated nearly 20,000 vehicles travel across the Greene Street Bridge every day.
He said NMDOT staff checked the bridge frequently since it was partially closed in preparation for construction.
“Our bridge supervisor checked to see if there is anymore damage or if he sees anything. For the most part we haven’t seen any additional structure deficiencies or damage,” Sanchez said.
NMDOT, the City of Carlsbad and Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) LLC agreed to median removal on the southern portion of the bridge to allow one lane of east and westbound traffic. Sanchez said the southern bridge was sturdy and could handle the traffic flow during the construction phase.
He said repair work would be done by Hasse Contracting Company from Albuquerque and that work could take three to six months.
“That’s one of the gateways to Carlsbad. We need to do our best to work with the contractor and our own staff to expedite it the best we can,” Sanchez said.
Southern Carlsbad Street closed for construction
A two-month closure of Hidalgo Street between Boyd Street and National Parks Highway south of Carlsbad began Monday, according to a City of Carlsbad news release.
Access was possible for business and property owners during the street construction project. Work on the project will be from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, per the release.