Exit 34 best choice for gravel operation

Letter to the Editor.

The Snoqualmie Valley Record is usually a strong voice for good

public policy, especially on land use, conservation and environmental issues.

However, your editorial published Oct. 26, 2000, regarding the North Bend

gravel operation at Truck Town/Grouse Ridge veered off course by casually

dismissing real environmental and safety issues involving the use of Exit 38

and the Fire Training Academy Road. Environmental and safety issues

should not be disregarded in any aspect of this project.

The state agencies that are most familiar with the Fire Training

Academy Road are the Washington State Patrol, which runs the academy,

and the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, which

manages Ollalie State Park. Both agencies expressed concerns about

environmental and safety issues related to Exit 38.

Here’s what parks’ stated in its DEIS letter: “There is very little

commercial development east of Exit 34. We are concerned that the Exit 38

Alternatives could lead to more development in the area. Exit 34 represents

a better option for truck haul-out as the area just off the freeway is already

used for commercial and industrial purposes, and it is one of the state’s

busiest truck stops.”

Parks’ letter goes on to state: “We also note that use of the Fire

Training Academy Road (as part of Alternatives 3 and 4) would require significant

road and culvert improvements, impacting numerous wetlands and streams.”

Likewise, James R. Ellis, president of the Mountains to Sound

Greenway Trust, wrote in the organization’s DEIS comment letter:

“Exit 34 is already one of the biggest, busiest truck stops

in the state of Washington with a long history of truck usage. Cadman

can easily access its gravel operation directly across the street from

Truck Town, less than 600 feet from the westbound Interstate 90 on-ramp.

In addition, Cadman intends to complete road improvements that would

ensure a better and safer traffic flow than now currently exists, even with the

added gravel truck traffic. Using Exit 34, gravel trucks would pass by no

homes, no schools, no parks, no rivers and no trailheads. The additional traffic

would be confined to a small area already characterized by, and built for,

truck usage.”

On the subject of the Fire Training Academy Road, Ellis

stated: “There are 13 stream crossings along the route and two major bridge

crossings of the South Fork Snoqualmie River, one of which would require

significant enlargement. Even with the best construction practices some

impact to streams, forestlands and the river is unavoidable.”

Your editorial correctly noted that the proposed gravel operation sites

are, and have been for many years, zoned for gravel mining operations.

Gravel mining has occurred at the lower site across from Truck Town, and at

other sites in the vicinity, for decades.

Cadman does not want the community to simply look at this

project in terms of Exit 34 vs. Exit 38. Rather, the DEIS should be reviewed in

terms of all of its environmental analysis and the correct alternative and

mitigations should be chosen that take into consideration residents, parks, the

environment, schools and business interests.

The State Environmental Policy Act process is about the

thoughtful discussion and sharing of opinions. Thank you for sharing all views

with your readers.

Robin Hansen

Manager, Permitting and

Environmental Services