New bridge links LA Canyon Rim Trail

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By Carol A. Clark

Three 18-wheelers parked along East Road across from the Los Alamos Airport the last couple of days each carried in 90-foot metal bridge spans to connect the Los Alamos Canyon Rim Trail.

Installation of the pedestrian bridge on the new trail south of the airport wrapped up Saturday with a 100-foot crane hoisting the pre-fabricated spans onto four concrete piers, which were formed last week.

The entire trail including the bridge cost $1.3 million.

“The use of the large crane required traffic control on N.M. 502 and traffic on the highway was reduced to one lane during the installation,” said Open Space Specialist Craig Martin of the Los Alamos County Parks Division. “Vehicles were directed to a temporary road surface on the north shoulder of the highway during the operation, which began at 7 a.m. and lasted about six hours or so.”

Martin explained Saturday that the bridge will remain off limits until safety inspections are complete, which will take several weeks. A grand opening for the bridge is expected to take place July. 24, he said.

“The Los Alamos Canyon Rim Trail is a 7,600 -foot paved pathway with a 300-foot bridge in the middle,” Martin said. “It’s a multi-purpose trail between downtown and Pajarito Cliffs (formerly Airport Basin). The trail ends at the parking area near the Holiday Inn at Entrada, which is where the county’s land ends. We’re working with the food co-op and the Holiday Inn to eventually connect the trail to the north side of the highway but that section won’t be paved.”

Arizona Structure Technologies fabricated the three 90-foot spans and Kiewit New Mexico is the design-build contractor for the pedestrian bridge.

Work on the 7,600-foot paved trail between approximately the entrance to the county shops at Pajarito Cliffs to the East Park area began last August.

The Los Alamos Family YMCA Youth Conservation Corps crew cleared brush from the trail corridor last August.

The parks division did the grading on the trail.

Phase 1 of the project consisted of a 3,000-foot paved pathway segment that connects East Park, the Aspen Ridge Assisted Living Facility, Sombrillo Care Center and the airport.

In May 2009, the Los Alamos County Council approved Capital Improvement Project funding for the first segment of the Los Alamos Canyon Rim Trail.

Council approved a contract for the design and construction of a pedestrian bridge along the trail early this year.

This spring, crews began grading the remaining portion of the trail. Grading and hauling base course material took place on the low-traffic days of Friday and Saturday each week.

Asphalt application on the trail is scheduled for mid-July.

For more information, visit the Parks Division web site at www.losalamosnm.us, or contact Martin at 663-1776.