Construction of a new storm drain will close a portion of NM 501 (West Jemez Road) for about 10 days beginning December 22. The majority of the work is scheduled to be done while Los Alamos National Laboratory is closed for the holidays, which should minimize traffic disruptions. But motorists traveling west on NM 501 will have to take an alternate route of travel to get to the Jemez Mountains, including NM 4 through White Rock and past Bandelier National Monument.
The work area is west of Camp May Road (i.e., in the immediate vicinity of Water Canyon --Khal Spencer addition per a conversation with Mr. Gonzales) so traffic to Pajarito Ski Area shouldn't be affected, said Mark D. Gonzales of the Manager of Functions (MOF) Division, adding, that this stretch of NM 501 also will be closed to bicyclists, runners and other pedestrians. The new storm drain off NM 501 in the Water Canyon area replaces a smaller culvert that was destroyed during a heavy rainstorm in August after the Las Conchas Fire. Workers will remove the existing culvert before installing the new structure that is designed to accommodate larger amounts of storm water flow, said Gonzales.
During the construction period, signs and other traffic control devices will be in place to alert motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians to the work. Weather permitting, work is scheduled to be completed by January 2, 2012. The Laboratory's annual winter closure begins at the end of the work day December 23 through January 2, reopening on Tuesday, January 3, 2012.
Note by KJS in addition: Since this will involve serious construction, you will surely meet up with construction vehicles en route to and fro, mud, and grunge. If you ride out there, please be careful and use good judgement. Thanks.