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Trinity work nears completion

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By Jennifer Garcia

Recently riddled with orange cones and somewhat confusing lane closures, Trinity Drive now sports a new, ebony surface thanks to the New Mexico Department of Transportation.

The smooth surface has been transformed from the sometimes-bumpy ride that users were accustomed to into a sleek roadway free of potholes. NMDOT work crews began the project on July 13 and were expected to complete it within three weeks. So far, they seem to be on schedule, as the milling and paving portions of the project have been completed, with the exception of a few small areas.

Temporary tabs are still in place dividing the lanes, however they will be removed once the striping work begins. The striping work is expected to begin soon. “The striping and pavement markings cannot be started until a couple of weeks after paving,” Public Works Director Kyle Zimmerman said. “The asphalt needs to let off gas and cure for a couple of weeks before the markings are applied. If it is done too soon, the markings will turn brown,” he explained.

Zimmerman said the layout of the pavements markings will take some time and will involve some more lane closures, to protect the people doing the work.

Right now, the two lanes leading out of town, right past the Hilltop House Hotel have been extended to the Canyon Road turnoff however, once the striping work begins, any extensions that have been made with the temporary tabs will be removed and the lanes will return to their original length.

County pavement staff has helped NMDOT crews with the cleanup and the county’s Pavement Manager Tom Roach has been working with NMDOT staff and the contractor throughout the project. In addition, the county loaned the contractor a roller when theirs broke down.

Zimmerman said the lane closures associated with the work did generate some complaints from residents. But the work was moving fast enough that the lanes were opened soon after the complaints were received.

“Overall, the project has been quick and has resulted in a good driving surface for the road,” Zimmerman said.

The county was also having some difficulty in maintaining open communication with NMDOT. However, Zimmerman said that as the project has progressed, communication with NMDOT has improved.

The county has requested that NMDOT repair the concrete curbs and sidewalks along NM 502. “A list of needed replacements was sent to NMDOT in the middle of May. We have not heard back on when or if the concrete will be repaired,” Zimmerman said.

Overall Zimmerman is glad that the NM 502 work was done. “It is very good to see NMDOT maintaining their road,” he said. “County staff will continue to work with NMDOT to keep a major arterial road in Los Alamos in good condition.”