Main checkpoint at LANL reduced to one guard

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By Roger Snodgrass

The main entrance into Los Alamos National Laboratory at Jemez Road and Diamond Drive is about to become more fluid for thousands of laboratory employees and other motorists.

Beginning on Sept. 26, several lanes will be open to through traffic without a guard to wave the vehicle through.

“The vast. majority of vehicles that come on lab property through that post, are of size and configuration that does not constitute a credible threat,” said LANL spokesperson Kevin Roark. “It’s mostly people coming to work in cars.”

He said there has not been a change in the security condition at the laboratory and the gurads are not going away.

“It’s a change in tactics,” he said. ‘That’s all.”

Only one lane, lane seven on the far right side, will be staffed by a full-time protective force officer. Large vehicles, commercial deliveries and recreational vehicles will use that lane.

Two other outer lanes, one and six, will be closed except when traffic conditions warrant.

A laboratory announcement Tuesday said current security conditions and three years of operating data and experience underpinned the decision to what has been a stop and go procedure for most motorists entering the laboratory.

No changes are now planned for vehicle inspection stations that were installed on Pajarito Road, the truck route, or on West Jemez Road, entering the laboratory from the west.

The roads were closed to restricted  traffic as a result of security studies during the height of concerns about terrorist threats.

The guard station at Jemez Road and Diamond Drive was “dubbed the ‘large intestine,’ by Khalil Spencer, a Los Alamos resident and bicycle enthusiast.

After the inspection station complex was installed, it became the object of a legal dispute between the county and the National Nuclear Security Administration.

A settlement was reached when DOE agreed to pay for a part of a bypass road, to ensure open access to Los Alamos from the west, even during times of heightened security.

Funds were raised or promised for the project from the stat and federal government

The county backed away from the construction project earlier this year.

A laboratory announcement said the vehicle inspection station can be ramped up with any additional security concerns.