If you go:
What: Connell Resources’ request for a permit to expand its gravel mining operation onto 43 new acres east of Hayden
When: 1:30 p.m., Jan. 14
Where: Commissioners Hearing Room, Routt County Courthouse, 522 Lincoln Ave.
Steamboat Springs Routt County commissioners could make a final decision Tuesday on a permit request by Connell Resources that would allow it to expand its gravel pit east of Hayden from 34 acres, which are owned by the Camilletti family and nearly mined out, onto 43 adjacent acres under Connell ownership.
The primary issue surrounding the expansion is Connell’s plan to shift way from its current access to U.S. Highway 40 via Routt County Road 51A and begin using an informal road already used by the county for its own smaller pit nearby.
Company executive Tony Connell told the commissioners during a preliminary hearing in August that continuing to use C.R. 51 would create the undesirable need to maintain an access easement across the Camilletti property even after mining operations there wind down.
A third option would be to access the pit via Routt County Road 51 (the airport road), which does not have shoulders and already carries heavy shuttle traffic during peak times in winter. Sight distances for the heavier trucks entering the highway there are also shorter.
The addition of heavier truck traffic to the informal access road used by the county would necessitate building new turn lanes on the highway. However, both the County Planning Commission and the Colorado Department of Transportation have indicated a preference for that option. Planning Commission voted 7-0 on Dec. 19 to recommend approval of the project.
Neighbor Bob Williams told Planning Commission that he and his wife, Alice, who live directly across the highway from the proposed new access point, are concerned about the additional noise that could be created by gravel-hauling trucks using noisy air brakes.
However, this gravel permit application has drawn far less opposition than most in Routt County, likely because its location up a steep hill from the highway shields it from the view of neighbors.
Connell told the county commissioners in August that a longstanding, highly productive asphalt plant associated with the pit has made it a key asset for the company’s road-building and overlay business.
To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1