Los Alamos County took action Friday, May 20 to conclude its contract with RMCI, Inc. for their services relating to infrastructure installation at the A-19 parcel in White Rock.
According to County Engineer Eric Martinez, RMCI was not successful with trenching to install utility lines needed to provide infrastructure at the A-19 site located north of SR4.
Earlier in the process, geotechnical sampling had identified that a portion of the area targeted for utility installation contained the problematic basalt. Basalt is one of the hardest rock formations to penetrate, requiring specialized techniques, equipment, and personnel skilled and trained in rock cutting of this nature, Martinez stated.
During attempts to excavate, the extent of basalt coverage was far more than anticipated. RMCI sought out two potential alternatives – by blasting and by use of specialized trenching equipment – yet the costs proposed were well beyond the established project budget. The blasting option would have required significant pre- and post-monitoring challenges within the community and nearby LANL infrastructure, Martinez said.
County officials met with RMCI and mutually agreed that the only possible path forward was to terminate the contract and seek new options. Martinez said that throughout the process, RMCI remained cordial and professional with County staff.
“This is a temporary setback, however, we are confident that cost effective opportunities will arise and be more compatible with the evolving site layout as the developer continues their planning efforts and eventual development plan preparation,” Martinez said. He added that the County would quickly begin concentrating on other options in order to keep the project moving forward for the benefit of the White Rock community.
The A-19 parcel was part of a series of land transfers from the DOE to the County that occurred nearly 20 years ago in lieu of continued federal annual funding. A-19 is part of the White Rock Master Plan vision, with a goal to develop a mixed-use project for housing, commercial and retail space on this prime piece of 70 acre-property located on SR4.