Dave Maxwell -  Work is progressing on building a new bridge across Clover Creek to the Caliente Youth Center. Weather permitting, the work is expected to be completed in January.

Dave Maxwell –
Work is progressing on building a new bridge across Clover Creek to the Caliente Youth Center. Weather permitting, the work is expected to be completed in January.

Work is underway on construction of the bridge to cross Meadow Valley Wash on the way to the Caliente Youth Center.

Lincoln County Commissioner Paul Donohue said when the project was approved last March the expected cost would be about $1.9 million.

He said the county built a detour roadway across Clover Creek for vehicles to get in and out of the youth center property.

Work on erecting the bridge itself is expected to last until January, 2017, weather permitting.

The City of Caliente did some preliminary work in terms of moving power lines and Lincoln County Telephone had to move some of their phone poles and cable TV lines as well.

The new bridge will be in the same place as the previous one, “but it will be built up a little higher,” Donohue said.

Caliente Mayor Stana Hurlburt said she was “ecstatic that it’s finally happening. After all the work that has been put into it, we are fortunate to finally have the state public works department go after the hazard mitigation funds to do this project.”

At present, to go to the youth center, one needs to make a sharp right turn at the

detour sign and down the road a ways behind Thomas Petroleum where the temporary road across the creek has been constructed.

In 2005, a major flood washed out the bridge to the youth center, which required students and staff to have to be evacuated by helicopter.

Donohue said the new bridge will be built in such a way that future flood waters will be able to flow freely underneath and not pile up, allowing silt and other debris to easily flow past and further on down the wash, which itself was deepened and widened a few years ago.

Hurlburt said, “A lot of people have worked really hard to get this and try to make it happen. We have been working with FEMA and the state for a very long time, even when I became the City Grants Administrator in 2007. It’s been a long process writing letters and gaining support from different agencies to resolve the culvert issue.”