Planners to discuss hauling coal, safety

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Routt County Planning commissioners will consider a request from Xcel Energy and its Hayden Station power plant to haul coal along a stretch of Routt County Road 27 at their meeting tonight.

The request would allow for coal hauls of up to 1.7 million tons of coal a year from Twentymile Coal Mine to Hayden Station, according to the planning report. The coal would be transported by truck along a 13.5-mile section of C.R. 27.

The number of truck trips along the road would depend on the type of trucks used, with about 270 truckloads required each day for 25-ton trucks, and about 100 truckloads required each day for 70-ton trucks.

The key issue that planning commissioners will consider is whether it's possible to mitigate potential traffic safety impacts associated with the increase in traffic, the report read.

The Hayden School District Board of Directors has discussed the road use with Frank Roitsch, director of the Hayden Station, because school buses also use C.R. 27.

According to letters from Superintendent Scott Mader and Roitsch included in the planning report, Roitsch has said that if coal was hauled during busing times, additional safety procedures would be taken such as warning signals, road upgrades and bus radios.

Originally, the energy company had plans to reconstruct an old rail spur that runs onto the power plant property. That plan was never implemented, and starting in 2000, the energy company obtained permits allowing emergency coal hauling on the road.

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