Hayden The Hayden Town Council will take another two weeks to consider a proposed hauling route that gravel trucks with Breeze Basin Resources would like to use as they travel through Hayden to reach U.S. Highway 40.
Specifically, the council on Thursday night agreed to explore imposing a per-ton surcharge on the gravel trucks, which would drive east from a gravel pit three miles west of Hayden on Routt County Road 65 — that becomes Poplar Street in Hayden — and then turn onto U.S. 40. The surcharge would pay for potential wear and tear caused by the heavy trucks.
The council’s discussion of the route Thursday night lasted for more than two hours and filled Town Hall. Supporters of the route stressed the gravel pit’s potential to provide a financial benefit to Hayden while its opponents said the large trucks, which will make as many as 30 trips per day, could damage one of Hayden’s most important roads and potentially be a safety hazard.
The proposed route has the trucks pass Hayden Valley Elementary School, which was a concern the Routt County Board of Commissioners discussed before they voted unanimously in August to approve the 9.9-acre gravel pit the trucks will travel from. The Hayden School District worked with the Routt County Planning Commission and representatives from Breeze Basin to ensure the trucks will not pass the school during busing hours.
Hayden Mayor Jim Haskins said that before the town endorses the route, the council should consider the potential impact increased oil and gas exploration in Routt County will have on Poplar Street, which is the major artery that connects areas south of town to the highway.
“I have concerns about safety,” Haskins said. “If an alternate road (besides Poplar) is not found outside of town, we’re constantly going to be having problems on that road. People in this town shouldn’t be paying for” damage to Poplar Street.
Haskins and other council members agreed that the town should start exploring whether it would be feasible to construct a road at the south end of Hayden that gravel trucks and other vehicles supporting oil and gas exploration could use to access U.S. 40 without traveling near the downtown region and the Hayden School District.
Also at Thursday’s meeting, the Town Council:
■ Voted to increase the town attorney’s hourly rate from $140 per hour to $175 per hour.
■ Voted to endorse the Hayden Economic Development Commission’s bid to pursue funding for a creative district in Hayden.
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com