Hayden gravel route nears approval

Town Council members, gravel truck operators reach preliminary agreement

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— The Hayden Town Council on Thursday night supported a preliminary agreement with Breeze Basin Resources that would pave the way for the company’s heavy gravel trucks to travel on one of Hayden’s busiest streets on the way to U.S. Highway 40.

Under the agreement, as many as 30 gravel trucks per day could drive east from a gravel pit three miles west of Hayden on Routt County Road 65, which turns into Poplar Street in Hayden, and then turn onto U.S. 40.

At a Feb. 2 meeting, members of the Town Council and several Hayden residents expressed concerns about the safety of the hauling route and its impact on Poplar Street. To alleviate those concerns, Breeze Basin on Thursday agreed to pay six cents per each ton of gravel it hauls from the pit to help cover road maintenance costs and agreed to not run gravel trucks during busing hours at Hayden Valley Elementary School, which is along the hauling route. Breeze Basin also will pay for no parking signs at the intersection of Poplar Street and U.S. 40, where the trucks will turn, and invest about $40,000 in a new scale to weigh trucks at the pit to ensure they are not overloaded.

“I think it was positive feedback,” gravel pit owner Kurt Frentress said at the end of the nearly two-hour discussion about the haul route. “I’m happy with the response we got from the board. It will work for us.”

The Town Council will vote on the agreement at its March 1 meeting.

Frentress told the council that he estimates 70 percent of the loads taken from the pit could be used to support oil and gas development. The potential for that future development near Hayden was on the minds of several council members during the lengthy discussion about the gravel truck route that has spanned three meetings and filled Town Hall earlier this month.

Hayden Mayor Jim Haskins and other council members said increased oil and gas development could push the traffic on Poplar Street past a point the road safely could sustain. To resolve that issue, the council said it in the future will consider constructing a new road at the west end of town to allow heavy trucks to reach U.S. 40 without driving on Poplar Street near the downtown area. It also plans to analyze the impact the gravel trucks have had on the road after five years. Breeze Basin has estimated the trucks could move as much as 30,000 tons of gravel annually.

“What I don’t want us to lose sight of is that when we have to repair (Poplar Street), it costs the residents of this town a lot of money,” Haskins said. “So we need to make sure if there is extraordinary use of the road, we find a different route or are able to assess a fee to accommodate that.”

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com

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