Orchard City has some questions and safety issues about the county's plan to haul gravel in 85,000-pound semi-tractor trailer rigs through the intersection at North Road and Highway 65 (SH65).
A 29-second long video clip viewed by the trustees, mayor, and staff at a Feb. 5 work session captures a "failed' demonstration run involving two of the county's dump belly gravel trucks.
In the demonstration, one of the trucks, south bound on SH65, had to stop as it attempted a turn east onto North Road to avoid colliding with another truck sitting at the stop sign next to Big "E."
The demonstration was conducted on Jan. 30 at the request of Orchard City Mayor Don Suppes, who termed the demonstration "a failure."
"There is no way that truck could have made that turn," said Suppes after viewing the video. He was also on site when the demonstration took place.
The demonstration proceeded as follows:
• A county-owned tractor-trailer dump belly gravel truck was stationed at the stop sign on North Road next to Big "E."
• Another, similar gravel hauler proceeding south on SH65 attempted to make a left turn onto eastbound North Road at Big "E."
• The turning truck failed to complete the turn and had to stop mid-maneuver to avoid its trailer scraping the fender of the parked truck. The parked truck was sitting well back from the highway in a position that Orchard City trustees said would have blocked its view of highway traffic approaching from the north.
• As the turning truck stopped in mid-maneuver, the parked truck had to steer right and pull forward to avoid the stopped trailer.
The North Road intersection "is the very worst place for something like that," said Trustee Gale Doudy after viewing the video clip.
Three days following the demonstration run, on Feb. 3, the county commissioners approved the county's North Road gravel pit application including a primary haul south through the SH65/North Road intersection. The commissioners' approval included a stipulation that had not been part of the county planning commission's approval on Jan. 22 — that the county gravel-hauling semis using the North Road haul route will not be allowed to turn north onto SH65 and must instead proceed straight through the intersection.
In an email on Monday, County Commission chair Bruce Hovde said the stipulation would also apply to county semis turning east onto North Road as in the demonstration.
But Suppes said on Feb. 5 those restrictions don't solve problems of gravel-hauling semis using the intersection because other commercial semis also use it. "There won't just be gravel trucks at that intersection. There are cattle trucks and fruit trucks that use it, too," he said.
The mayor and trustees discussed using the Myers Road intersection at SH65, abount 1/2 mile south of the North Road intersection, as the primary haul route. "Line-of-sight is better at Myers Road," Suppes said. Also, the intersection is in a "T" configuration resulting in less directional traffic.
However, access to the Myers Road highway entry would require reconstruction of 2190 Road, trustees noted. "The county doesn't want to improve a half-mile of 2190 Road," said the mayor.
The county commissioners' approval of the North Road gravel pit and haul route still depends in various degrees on results of a traffic count study at Highway 65, and on CDOT's evaluation of that study's results. A maximum of five haul trips per hour could run from the North Road gravel pit during its 16-year or longer life span, according to county filings.
County engineering staff said during public hearings on the pit application that Orchard City would need to "sign off' with the North Road haul route for it to be approved.
Suppes said, "We weren't involved too much in discussions" on the pit application. Town administrator Melissa Oelke noted the county had asked Orchard City for a letter of support, but the trustees have yet to approved one.blog comments powered by Disqus