Upgrade Of NM4/East Jemez Road Intersection To Begin Soon


Preparations are scheduled to begin this month for improvements to the intersection project at NM4 and 501/East Jemez Road, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) as part of a settlement agreement with the State of New Mexico.

There should be no traffic impacts for this phase of the project. The major construction activities will begin in Spring 2023.

The NNSA and New Mexico Department of Transportation (NMDOT) partnered to redesign and rebuild the intersection. NMDOT competitively selected and awarded the construction contract last month to Star Paving.

“This project accomplishes three objectives,” said NNSA Los Alamos Field Office Manager Ted Wyka. “We continue to fulfill the terms of our Settlement Agreement with the New Mexico Environment Department by performing our final supplement environmental project by making improvements to our WIPP transportation route, while also improving traffic safety for laboratory commuters, and reducing commute times for the many employees who live off the hill.

The project is the final supplemental environmental project performed pursuant to the 2016 Settlement Agreement with the State of New Mexico in lieu of potential penalties associated with a 2014 contamination event at DOE’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad.

In the Settlement Agreement, DOE and NNSA agreed to spend up to $12 million to improve DOE-owned transportation routes used to ship transuranic waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) to WIPP. With the award of this construction contract, which is estimated at $7.5 million, NNSA will ultimately provide $17.3 million to improve transportation routes supporting the Lab and surrounding community.

Upon completion, a four-way intersection with additional lanes and safety features will improve the flow of daily traffic through the intersection that leads west to LANL and south to White Rock. Additionally, the work will facilitate the National Park Service’s creation of a new parking area at Bandelier National Monument’s Tsankawi unit east of the intersection.

The following is a list of all the Supplemental Environmental Projects per the Settlement Agreement at LANL:

  • WIPP transportation route improvements included the East Jemez/NM-4 intersection upgrade
    • Design and Installation of Storm Water Engineering Structures
    • Water Line Improvements and Metering Upgrades
    • External, Independent Environmental (Triennial) Regulatory
    • Supplemental Environmental Sampling and Monitoring

For the intersection project, the NNSA Los Alamos Field Office will coordinate with the State of New Mexico, New Mexico Department of Transportation, Los Alamos County, Santa Fe County, the National Park Service, Pueblo de San Ildefonso, and Triad National Security, LLC.