Letter to the Editor: Letter from R&O Construction to the Los Alamos Community

By TIM GLADWELL, Vice President

Construction for the future Smith’s Marketplace is underway, and with it comes preparation of the building site, which requires the infill of dirt so the store’s foundation may be laid. We understand concerns and inconveniences regarding this process, and hope that by sharing some information with the community we can increase understanding.

Concern for Safety

Both R & O and Smith’s value safety in everything we do — for our associates and subcontracted workers, and for our customers. We also expect companies who work for us to embrace that value as well. R&O requires all of our subcontractors to submit their own comprehensive safety procedures plan for any particular work site before they are allowed to commence work. Only contractors who pass that review are permitted to work for R&O.We invest to ensure that all subs receive the necessary resources to execute both R&O’s safety requirements and those of the subcontracted company while on our job site.

R&O has hired Santa Clara Construction (SCC) for much of this initial site preparation process. SCC hires drivers with CDL licenses which requires them to have clean records and an attitude of “safety first” while operating their trucks and equipment. That responsibility includes  abiding by all laws of the road, maintaining full control of their vehicle and driving within the speed regulations posted. Any driver who does not adhere to those expectations is subject to firing. Both R&O and SCC take pride in our commitment to safety and the levels of employee training we require for optimum onsite safety.

In addition, SCC has been hired for past projects by LANL whose well-documented safety records indicate their work was completed incident-free. To date, SCC has hauled more than 5,500 tons readying the Smith’s Marketplace site without an incident of accident or injury.

Truck Route vs. Main Hill Road (NM 502)

Concern for safety is the reason why trucks are using Main Hill Road rather than the established truck route during this phase of construction. While the haul time on that road is actually longer, it allows safer access to the building site and exposes other vehicles to fewer potential traffic incidents and congestion. Turning right off Trinity into the work site using the truck route requires these large trucks to swerve into the eastbound lane, which could create a dangerous situation. In addition, a left turn across oncoming traffic would be required out of the building site. This same scenario would hold if trucks were required to turn onto Knecht to enter the building site. In addition, using the truck route requires traveling through the center of Town and stopping at several traffic lights, which may increase noise levels in residential areas.

Upon weighing these options, it was decided to use Main Hill Road as the better travel option, while acknowledging that this also would also present some inconveniences for the community.

Hours of Truck Travel

Smith’s is excited and anxious to bring this long-awaited shopping experience to its Los Alamos customers. Much of the preliminary work must be done before bad weather sets in to keep the project on schedule. Therefore, extended hours of hauling are critical to this project and will get the job done ultimately with less impact to the County residents.  

We understand that construction is perceived to be a nuisance to anyone not involved with the project through its duration, and we appreciate your patience. There is a lot of activity and a large amount of equipment necessary to complete a project of this size. The risks, safety concerns and coordination may appear to the public as not being addressed. However, the opposite is true.

Both R&O and Santa Clara Construction think we are part of an exciting shopping addition to this beautiful Los Alamos area that will serve future families for years to come.  



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