The Bluffs senior affordable apartment complex is taking shape on DP Road. Photo by Ed Birnbaum
Workers are busy Wednesday pouring concrete for new apartments on DP Road. Photo by Ed Birnbaum
Another scene of work underway Wednesday at new apartments on DP Road. Photo by Ed Birnbaum
By KIRSTEN LASKEY
Los Alamos Daily Post
DP Road is undergoing multiple changes. The Canyon Walk Apartments, an affordable housing project, is under development and this month kicked off the start of utility work on DP Road.
Los Alamos County Community Development Department Director Paul Andrus explained that the County is installing sewer utilities to serve Canyon Walk Apartments and senior affordable apartment complex The Bluffs. Installation of a new lift station and trench work for the sewer lines is nearing completion, he said.
In the project’s next phase, developer Bethel Development, Inc., will trench down DP Road to bring the remaining utilities to the two apartment projects, Andrus said, and curbs and gutters will be constructed as well.
Bethel is performing the work and the County is funding the project.
“It is one large project to serve all utilities in that one portion of DP Road because Bethel is building the apartments, the County is paying for those utilities as part of our portion of the affordable housing projects,” he said.
The cost of improvements associated with the affordable housing development an estimated $1.2 million.
Andrus said the plan is to complete the project by the end of this year.
During the project, there will be traffic control measures in place … not detours but most likely flagging, Andrus said, adding that the section where this will be most critical is from Knights of Columbus hall to the western edge of the Canyon Walk property.
DP Road has received a lot of attention lately, not only because of the construction of the apartment complex but for a string of discoveries of radioactive waste on a parcel of land known as A-16. The NNSA and laboratory contractor, N3B are responding to the radioactive waste, which Andrus said shouldn’t impact road work or traffic on DP Road.
Andrus described a next phase of utility and road improvements approved in April by County Council. This phase will update and “greatly improve utility services” to existing and future businesses on DP Road, he said, adding that these improvements are necessary as to his knowledge, utilities on DP Road haven’t been upgraded since the 1960s.
“I see this creating a real vital destination in town,” he said.
Andrus addressed initial delays in the project.
“There were some challenges early on … we got started late for reasons beyond our control and with the COVID crisis … it just compounded that,” Andrus said. “Luckily, they (Bethel) were able to get an extension for the completion of the apartment complexes … now we have sufficient time to complete those projects. It is moving well now. That’s something we are really pleased with.”
Council Chair Sara Scott addressed the initial challenges.
“Understanding the challenges encountered, I really appreciate the efforts of TRIAD, NNSA, N3B, EM and County staff in pulling together to identify and work towards near- and longer-term solutions,” Scott said. “I would also like to note that I appreciate this land transfer from NNSA, it is creating important opportunities for addressing housing needs and land ownership for our businesses.”
Andrus spoke about the concern for businesses on DP Road.
“Not only is DP Road getting work done, which dissuades customers from going down the road, but right next to DP Road the state is tearing up N.M. 502 to construct a roundabout,” he said.
To address those concerns, Andrus said work is being done to keep the lines of communication open.
“In the short run we want to make sure there is a communication plan with Bethel and to have outreach to those business,” he said. “We are doing our best to communicate when there are certain traffic control activities in place, what the duration will be, what to expect (so) they can tell customers in terms of getting in and getting out. In the longer term, when we start planning for the large infrastructure, and road work, we want their (business) input …”
Village Arts Owner Ken Nebel said he was “extremely worried” when this project started. He said when the road work was done on Trinity Drive for the new Smith’s Marketplace, it cost Village Arts 40 percent of its income that entire summer.
However, with the road work now underway, it has been alright so far, he said.
“People have been braving the road construction fairly well,” Nebel said. “We are happy to help people with questions …”
He added that the County has been helpful, too. County staff keep businesses updated on the road work, Nebel said, adding that it also helps that the state has reopened Trinity Drive as the roundabout project progresses.
“It is frustrating at times, but Los Alamos realizes it is going to be tough,” Nebel said. “Individuals have stepped up and the Chamber has helped out. I think they have really stepped up during COVID and help out any why they can.”
The Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce is promoting its Shop, Snap, Submit and Shop Again program. Locals are encouraged to shop at five Los Alamos and White Rock businesses through Sept. 7 and spend a minimum of $10. If shoppers snap a photo of their receipts and submit the pictures to email@example.com, they will receive $10 in Chamber checks.
Crossfit Co-owner John Wilcox said COVID-19 has impacted the gym more than road work. He credits loyal members who work around whatever obstacles come up to get to Crossfit.
“We love being a part of the business community in this town and our members have done a great job supporting us through all of this … thank you to all our members,” he said.
Still, the pandemic and the road projects have made it difficult for businesses on DP Road, Wilcox said.
“We have been trying to move along forward … it’s been a pretty tough road for a lot of businesses, especially DP Road businesses,” he said.
One thing Wilcox said would be beneficial is more awareness for businesses on DP Road. He recommends the County offer an easy process for installing monument signs, similar to the signs located at the entrances to Smith’s and Entrada Business Park.
Having a monument sign for DP Road would be “fantastic,” Wilcox said.
Andrus acknowledged there are many questions and concerns, and the County is working to address them.
“Even though it is going to be disruptive, potentially for a while through all of these different phases, we want to get as much good information as possible,” he said, adding, “I am confident the final product will be a benefit not only to the businesses but to the community as whole,” he said.
DP Road Businesses
ADC Builders Kitchen & Bath Design
212 DP Road
AutoDoc Ltd Co
208 DP Road
99 DP Road
Candyman Los Alamos
200 DP Road
278 DP Road A
Frank’s Supply Company Inc
2686 DP Road
Glover’s Auto Parts & Repair
208 DP Road
Los Alamos Home Improvement Company
232 DP Road
Los Alamos Monitor
256 DP Road
Paw-Fect Cuts LLC
208 DP Road B
216 DP Road
Waller’s Plumbing & Heating
248 DP Road