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Diamond Drive Phase 4 shifts gears

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Utility work, curbs, drainage structures and gutters wrap up on one side

By Carol A. Clark

The county will be making a significant change in the traffic control on the Diamond Drive Phase 4 project in the next few days. Traffic will be shifted to the opposite side of Diamond Drive. Orange Street will be closed and a temporary intersection will be opened on the east side of Diamond at 39th/Ridgeway.

The project is running about six or seven days behind schedule, said acting project manager Tom Roach this morning.

“Sandia Drive at Diamond remains closed but is expected to open no later than Saturday,” he said. “The delay in opening this intersection is related to the location of old utilities, abandoned utilities and installation of new utilities in the intersection. We also encountered and addressed some contaminated soils.”

Utility work in the intersection has been completed and the placement of curb, gutter and drop inlet drainage structures are also complete,

he said.  

“There are no big issues to date with the project, nothing out of the ordinary,” Department of Utilities Manager John Arrowsmith said during an interview Tuesday.

East side paving from Ridgeway to south of Sandia Drive is scheduled to be finished by Thursday and traffic is scheduled to be placed on the new roadway by Friday.

Construction will then begin on the northbound (east) side of Diamond from Ridgeway to the first pedestrian overpass.

Once Sandia is reopened, the intersection of Orange and Diamond will be closed on approximately June 19, after the traffic is switched from the west side to the east side. A temporary intersection will be built at 39th Street and Diamond to detour traffic and provide access in and out of the Denver Steel Area while Orange is closed, Roach said. All residents in this area have been mailed a letter explaining the detour and traffic turning restrictions.

The project contractor anticipates that the Orange-Diamond intersection will be closed for about three weeks, he said, adding that all dates are estimates and are subject to weather or other delays.

During the traffic switch from the east to west side of Diamond, traffic control will be fluid for the first few days as the contractor establishes the new travel lanes, temporary roadway markings and the work zone.

Once the switchover is complete, traffic control will be as follows:

•Northbound traffic starting south of Canyon Road will be reduced to one lane with a left turn lane at Sandia; and

•Southbound traffic starting south of Sycamore Street will include two southbound lanes with a through and left turn at Orange Street.

Turning Movement Restrictions:

• No left turns out of the Duane Smith parking lot onto southbound Diamond;

•No left turns out of University Drive onto northbound Diamond, use Sandia;

•No left turns from northbound Diamond onto Ridgeway or Ridgeway onto northbound Diamond, use Sandia;

•No left turns from northbound Diamond onto North Road or North Road onto northbound Diamond, use Sycamore; and

• At least one access from Diamond to the businesses across from the Los Alamos High School will be maintained. The Sandia access will remain open.

Pedestrian access will be maintained on the west side of Diamond Drive with crossing allowed on the pedestrian overpasses, signalized intersections and the temporary crossing near North Road.

Bicyclists have the option of taking a lane or using the sidewalks.

During the Orange Street closure, a temporary intersection from the Denver Steel area onto Diamond Drive will be opened where 39th Street and Ridgeway meet on the northeast side of Diamond Drive. This temporary access will be called 39th Street and is anticipated to last three weeks.

Orange Street traffic exiting the Denver Steel area will be detoured to the temporary 39th Street intersection. Ridgeway also may be used. The temporary 39th Street intersection will be controlled by stop signs at the top of Ridgeway and a stop sign at the entrance to Diamond.

Traffic turning left from 39th Street onto southbound Diamond will have a partially protected entry lane and must yield to northbound Diamond traffic as well as southbound Diamond left turns onto 39th Street. A southbound Diamond left turn lane onto the temporary 39th Street access will be provided.

North Road at Diamond will be closed during the Orange Street closure, use Sycamore.

The signalized pedestrian crossing at Orange and Sandia will be closed. Pedestrians should cross at other signalized intersections, overpasses or the temporary crossing at North Road. Pedestrians between Orange Street and the temporary 39th Street intersection may use 39th Street.

Contact the Public Works Department at 662-8150 or lacpw@lacnm.us  with questions or concerns.