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The Los Alamos County Public Works department will present a revised plan for N.M. 502 improvements to council at 7 p.m. Dec. 11 in council chambers.
A plan approved by council last February was bounced by the New Mexico Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration after traffic studies determined that the Level of Service for side streets Arroyo Lane and Sombrillo Court would not meet minimum standards.
The NMDOT and FHWA are requiring that N.M. 502 be increased to four lanes through that area to address the issue.
Staff has been negotiating with the agencies to find alternatives, since area residents argued against widening the road. The county’s argument that a “context sensitive solution” was needed has been rejected.
If the county does not revise the design to meet NMDOT and FHWA requirements, the county risks losing nearly $4 million in federal funds earmarked for the project.
Staff is also proposing a two-phase project for the area.
The federal funds were originally earmarked for the stretch between Knecht Street and Tewa Loop. Staff is proposing road improvements to a section between Knecht and a point between Canyon Road and the driveways to Crossroads Bible Church and the Christian Church. This would encompass adjustments needed for the Trinity Site development and address the need to replace a water line starting at Knecht.
The section of road between Tewa Loop and Airport Road would be addressed at a later time.
Details on the proposed changes are available in Tuesday’s agenda packet, available on the county website.
In related news, staff has been working with NMDOT to have speed limits reduced in that area to address residents’ complaints about sound levels. NMDOT has performed a speed study and has proposed reducing the speed limit to 35 mph at Airport Road. The speed limit along the airport would be reduced to 40 mph. NMDOT will make the change as soon as they receive approval from their headquarters.
Once the speed limit changes have been in place, staff will check the sound levels to determine additional sound mitigation measures.