Birnbaum: Let’s Not Wait Until A Serious Security Breach Occurs…

By ED BIRNBAUM
Los Alamos

The awarding of a road construction contract by NNSA to improve NM 4 and 502 was great news, but I wish NNSA would give some serious thought to also replacing the old, rusting, painted iron railings of the Omega bridge with a more modern, functional, aluminum railing that will not rust. It makes a pretty ugly gateway to Los Alamos and LANL with the rust stains running down the concrete and the corrosion of the railing mounts. At the very least, the cracked concrete holding the mounts should be repaired and the mounts replaced and/or repainted as necessary.

It should also be readily apparent that there is a critical need for a bypass to be built behind the LANL fire station so that drivers who do not work at LANL and who wish to use Highway 501 to get to the Ski Hill or Camp May or onward through the Jemez, can avoid driving through the security gate and past all the buildings on lab property as they drive along West Jemez Road. The current alternative to going through the security gate is to drive in and out of the canyon, which is both painful and unsafe in the wintertime when snow and ice is a hazard, especially for RV’s.

It should be clear to everyone that a real security risk currently exists by allowing anyone to drive through the security gate showing only a drivers license or passport, and this situation will not improve with time. Stopping and searching RV’s and other vehicles is not the way to make a visit to Los Alamos an enjoyable experience; nor is it a cost-effective use of LANL security personnel or very effective at securing LANL from intruders.

The only way to solve this problem that I can see is to provide an alternate, safe route from the southern side of the Omega Bridge going behind the LANL fire station and the “Motorola Building”, and connecting to Camp May Trail where it intersects with West Road. This is a relatively short distance, less than 1,000 yards, although a major reconstruction of the current intersection south of the Omega Bridge would also be required.

I hope all our elected officials at both the State and Federal levels will put construction of a bypass and repair/upgrade of the Omega Bridge on their priority list of things that NNSA needs to accomplish in the near future. Let’s not wait until a serious security breach occurs due to NNSA inaction.

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