Mitigation upgrades underway at mine site

NORTH BEND - Mitigated road improvements have begun and trucks are well under way in removing gravel from a mining operation near Interstate 90's Exit 34 in North Bend.

Stormwater detention, shoulder repairs and curb and gutter improvements near the site located off Edgewick Road are nearing completion, according to Robin Hansen, project manger for international mining company Cadman Inc.

The site is part of a proposed 25-year mining operation by Cadman on land leased from Weyerhaeuser Co. that is located between exits 34 and 38. The plan calls for rocks to eventually be transported from a location on Grouse Ridge to a lower site for processing near TravelCenters of America Seattle East, formerly Ken's Truck Town.

The lower site has been in operation since July, with 27 trucks now removing 110 loads of gravel (3,520 tons) per day, according to Hansen.

A traffic signal will be installed on Southeast 146th Street when market value dictates under King County rules, said Hansen.

Despite the forward progress, opponents of the Cadman operation, the grass-roots Cascade Gateway Foundation, continue a more than five-year battle to get Cadman to utilize Exit 38, moving traffic out of the already busy TravelCenters area.

According to the group's Web site and e-mail updates, fund raising continues for ongoing court costs. The next major step in the group's effort will likely come when Cadman applies for a permit to begin work on an upper site to the proposed operation. No date has been set as to when a permit application would be filed.

Cadman officials have said they expect to mine the lower portion of the site for about five years.

Cascade Gateway Foundation also has started distributing "A Grouse Ridge Primer" newsletter to keep the issue fresh in the minds of group members and neighbors.

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