Northwest NEWS

August 23, 1999

Editorial

Response to Ron Sim's visit to the Duvall Rock Quarry Site

   Although the Friends of Cherry Valley is "now 230 strong," that is a pretty pale number when you consider the impacts the quarry will have on local residents. There are several facts that people really should know about this proposed quarry that might make them more likely to drag themselves out to one of the meetings. The next one is at 7:00, Sept. 14, at the Cherry Gardens Community Center.

   The traffic issues are probably the most far-reaching factors. Duvall Rock proposes to send 272 trucks a day out onto SR-203, with another 272 coming back (that's what they mean when they say "544 truck trips a day"). Eighty percent will be taking a left, heading south towards Duvall. In their own traffic analysis, they have concluded that, with improvements, the sight distance at that point is still about 300 feet short of legal, due to the curve of the road. That would be 217 trucks a day pulling out onto SR-203, unsafely. That in itself gives me shivers. I don't care what the speed limit is--how fast do you drive down that road? We're talking about potential fatalities here. Not to mention the increased traffic going over the bridge and through town.

   So let's look at the increased traffic. The study done for the quarry proposal has pretty in-depth analysis of afternoon peak traffic. And they don't think they're going to have much of an impact at all. Especially since, hey--it's gravel--most people need deliveries in the morning. So that would be a very large percentage of 217 trucks a day pulling onto SR-203 at, say, 7:00 a.m.? Traffic at that intersection at that hour from that direction is already out of control! So far, those of you sailing down 203 at 7:00, you'd best have already had your morning coffee.

   Aside from that, they are also planning to send construction equipment, specifically a rock drill, supplies, a bulldozer, and an excavator up Cherry Valley Road, up Mountain View, around the hairpin, and winding up the teeny little roads up there. Some of those roads aren't even able to support school buses. Somehow, there is no estimate on how many trips this would take.

   In addition, this equipment is used to get their first 10 acres cleared and their processing area constructed. Although they've figured that 300,000 tons of material will be excavated in order to build their processing area, the removal of this material was mysteriously not addressed. Although they state that no material will be trucked down Cherry Valley Road, I'm not sure how they propose to handle 300,000 tons of material before they've broken through to SR-203. And these are just some of the traffic issues.

   For the people who do care about fish, Cherry Creek isn't just a salmonid stream, it's prime habitat for chinook salmon, the recently EPA-listed "threatened" species. Their rock quarry would lie within spitting distance of this habitat. And it's all downstream.

   Of course, they state that the water that leaves the site will be "up to standards," but let's not kid ourselves here. They're processing rock, which creates dust, which gets into the water, which kills fish.

   And yes, they are proposing to move the waterfall. You know--the beautiful one you can see on your right as you head out of Duvall to Monroe? That's the one. It flows smack down the center of their site. But don't worry your pretty little heads--it won't be ugly! They're going to leave a 280-foot "screen" to keep us from seeing your desecrated mauling for absolutely miles?

   Okay, for you unyielding unconvinced few still left, what about the aquifer? There are upwards of 200 families supported solely by that aquifer. In their proposal, they're planning to excavate to within ten feet. How do they think they can even predict the level of the aquifer within 10 feet? It's underground! They can't achieve that level of accuracy--they used log data to form their conclusions! And if they, oops, go a little too far, what are those families going to do?

   And what about the dog training area? And Cherry Valley Elementary School? And the onsite storage of explosives? And the dust? And the noise? And the five million other things that people can find wrong with this proposal?

   Don't get me wrong--I'm not just crying "Not In My Back Yard." I'm a civil engineer--I depend on "progress" to make a living. And believe me, it takes a lot of gravel to build a road, a parking lot, a foundation, whatever. But this proposal is not worth its weight in paper, much less rock.

Lisa Theriault, Duvall