Oak Creek After hearing several Routt County residents speak of their concerns about the proposed Lafarge Gravel Pit along Colorado Highway 131, the Oak Creek Board of Trustees voted to support the construction of the site 5 to 1, with one undecided.
Trustee John Crawford opposed the site, saying the asphalt and concrete production facilities to be built along with the gravel pit would not be visually pleasing. Trustee Clyde Moore said he could not decide one way or the other. Before making this decision, the board heard arguments from both sides.
John Holloway, an attorney from Steamboat Springs, was the first to speak. He asked the board to write a letter to the Routt County Commissioners to deny the construction of the gravel pit, mainly for safety concerns.
He said there were 132 grounds on which he thinks the gravel pit is not just, but that the danger posed to motorists was reason enough to oppose it. Holloway said dump trucks and cement trucks on the already congested roadway could create a hazard.
Another Steamboat resident, Ken Solomon, said he counted 350 cars in an hour one morning passing over the bridge on Highway 131 near the proposed entrance to the site. He said the fog on that bridge is sometimes so dense that drivers "can't see their hood ornaments."
"I'm concerned there is going to be a terrible wreck here if we have trucks pulling in and out within feet of the bridge," Solomon said.
In response to that, Bea Westwater, a spokeswoman for Lafarge, said the company has reported only one traffic accident in the past 12 years involving one of their trucks. Also, the new intersection planned at the entrance of the Lafarge facility would have acceleration and deceleration lanes, and caution lights for fog mitigation.
Oak Creek resident Janey Romick said she was concerned for her friends and the children in South Routt, in that she has seen similar fog mitigation efforts and doesn't trust them.
"I don't think we all realize the extent of this project," said resident Beth Fisher. "The environmental impacts could be devastating."
Mayor Cargo Rodeman said she would write a formal letter to the Routt County Commissioners supporting the gravel pit.