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,
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.
Manager, Permitting and