Duckels seeks to expand 2 gravel pits west of Steamboat Springs

Routt County Commissioners hear request, praise pit operation

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— The Routt County Board of Commissioners discussed Duckels Construction’s plans Tuesday to expand two longstanding gravel pits on either side of U.S. Highway 40 west of Steamboat Springs.

Fred Duckels told commissioners that he would like to expand gravel mining operations at the 51-acre Hogue River Pit along the Yampa River on the south side of U.S. 40 by 11.7 acres and add 22.4 acres of mining at the dry Bettger Gravel Pit on the north side of the highway.

“This is the slowest we’ve been since 1989,” Duckels said about activity at the Hogue pit after the meeting. But we’re almost running out of material at Bettger.”

The site is west of Steamboat II and immediately west of the Steamboat Golf Club. The Hogue pit is most visible to motorists on U.S. 40, but views of the mining operations are screened by berms. The expansion to the Hogue pit would be on the west end. Plans call for the expansion to be set back 100 feet from the river.

No vote was taken at Tuesday’s pre-application conference.

County Planner Rebecca Bessey said that the ball is in Duckels’ court and that his next step would be to return to the county with a full permit application.

County Commissioners­ Doug Monger and Diane Mitsch Bush noted that Duckels has been a good operator of the twin gravel pits on the ranch operated by Mike and Maureen Hogue.

I think the project has been running very good out there,” Monger said. “We don’t hear anything from neighbors.

“We really like that. We know we continue to need some aggregate for the county even in the current economic climate.”

Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak pointed out to Duckels that even if the expansion areas are approved, he will have to come in again in 2012 to seek a 10-year extension.

He previously has been granted 10-year extensions in 1992 and 2002.

The expanded mining operations at Hogue and Bettger would continue the existing operating hours of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. Mining would be conducted using bulldozers, front-end loaders, backhoes and 10-ton dump trucks. The expansion of the operating area tentatively is not expected to generate additional truck trips.

Historically, mined aggregate from the Bettger pit has been hauled across the highway for processing at the Hogue pit.

— To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205 or email tross@SteamboatToday.com

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