By Shandra Keesecker - Rivero on February 24, 2015
Starting at just about City Hall, construction signs notify drivers to the beginning of roadwork 200 meters ahead. Once there, additional arrows direct two-way traffic along a stretch of Blvd. Benito Juarez recently pulled up from about the anchor to the Terranova offices. City officials remark work along this stretch will take place generally from Monday through mid-Friday in the coming weeks, which may lead to some detours along the docks, though allow for roads to be freed up for weekend traffic. In addition, the entrance to the Port along Blvd. Juarez is scheduled to be complete by March 30th, or rather right as Semana Santa gets underway.
Current work along the stretch of Blvd. Juarez leading to the Old Port is part of a larger tourist circuit began by the current Puerto Peñasco administration approximately two years ago. The ambitious endeavor meant to modernize the port area while creating further tourist attractions also includes concluded work on Calles 13 and 12, present work on Calle 11 linking back to Ave. Luis Encinas, as well as the extension of Blvd. Benito Juarez towards the Port. Nearing the port, side streets from Blvd. Juarez that lead to the docks (Calle Lauro Contreras plus Calles 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8) are also slated for renovation along with the road along the docks up to the boat launch area. Another detail mentioned in a press release issued on Feb. 11th indicated the full project also contemplates extending the renovation of Blvd. Benito Juárez to where the railroad tracks cross this important and essential traffic lifeline, though no complete timeframe has been made known.
The entire urban “Tourism Circuit” modernization project surrounding the dock area will include use of 44,400.73 sq. meters of hydraulic concrete. This will incorporate curbs, sidewalks, handicap access ramps, and renovated sewage lines to the tune of nearly 60 million pesos.
One of the main questions that arose in recent weeks with the removal of pavement from along the Blvd. Benito Juarez stretch leading to the port was precisely that of “Why Now?” Puerto Peñasco Mayor Gerardo Figueroa explained federal funds approved in 2014 were only made available by the State on Dec. 31st, which led to a four month delay in being able to carry out several projects in town. “This,” he detailed, “is why we are working in different parts of the city. We know how bothersome this is for the community, but we will try to complete the work as soon as possible.”
On Thursday, Feb. 12th, members from the local Chamber of Commerce met with Engineer Heberto Reyna, then serving Director of Public Projects, in order to discuss the importance of clear communication with businesses and residents as to the ongoing work. During the constructive gathering, both Reyna and the construction company doing the work made a commitment to place clear signage around where road work is going on, results of which can be seen as one heads toward the Old Port. During the meeting, Reyna also presented images of what the final project in the Port area will look like. Let’s just say, very nice!
In an interesting turn of events, on February 14th Engineer Reyna called a press conference to announce his resignation from Public Office, which he had presented to Mayor Gerardo Figueroa Zazueta just the day before. He also took advantage of the press conference to express his interest in running for Mayor in the upcoming June elections if he were to be selected by his party. With this move, Deputy Director of Public Projects Engineer José Luis Villalobos Jiménez became the current Director of Public Projects and has made similar commitments to have work completed toward the Old Port before Semana Santa. Similarly, he remarked they are working to assure at least one side of Blvd. Juarez coming into town be open for the busy Holy Week season.
Puerto Peñasco Mayor Gerardo Figueroa promises that access to the malecón will not be impeded during any part of the current work.