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(Brienne Green - Daily Press)

(Brienne Green – Daily Press)

Above, vehicles drive through the intersection of 13th and Main streets Saturday afternoon following the reopening of the major U.S. 82 intersection Friday.

Since May 31, Artesians and confused summer travelers alike have been diverted around the construction, which left the intersection with a new coating of concrete the city says will be more durable under the heavy highway traffic flow.

The return to normal came as welcome news for both drivers and residents in the areas of Merchant and Chisum avenues, who saw a significant increase in traffic during the construction phase. That prompted the placement of a four-way stop at 12th Street and Merchant, which is expected to be restored to a two-way stop soon.

Detours moved south, however, as the 13th Street Reconstruction Project continues with Phase III. That phase, which began Monday and is expected to last through January 2017, sees 13th Street closed from just south of Grand Avenue to just north of Briscoe Avenue, including the 13th Street access point to Zia Intermediate School.

With the Artesia Public Schools’ elementary schools, Zia, Park Junior High, and Artesia High School all having returned to class Monday, parents are encouraged to visit www.bulldogs.org or contact Pearl Valles at the APD Administration Office, 7463585, to learn how the construction will affect both Zia traffic as well as the bus transfer hub, which will be relocated to Park for the duration of the construction phase.

In other back-to-school traffic news, motorists should also note the addition of left-turn lanes on Grand Avenue at the 13th Street intersection.