John StroudPost IndependentAspen, CO Colorado

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December 7, 2012
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Catherine Bridge upgrade cost is tabbed at $500K

CARBONDALE - Widening of the Catherine Store Bridge on Garfield County Road 100 to accommodate heavy truck traffic associated with a proposed solid waste transfer facility near Carbondale would likely cost around $500,000.That's according to an engineering study and cost estimate, which the operator of the proposed facility, local waste hauler Mountain Roll Offs Inc. (MRI), had done as part of its application currently before the Garfield County commissioners.The bridge widening feasibility study is included among the piles of new reports, studies and other information being considered by the commissioners as they near a possible decision on the waste transfer and recycling facility next week.Also on the table as the commissioners weigh their decision is an economic impact report done by BBC Research & Consulting on behalf of several nearby homeowners associations that oppose the waste transfer facility.A continued public hearing is slated to resume at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11, at the Board of County Commissioners meeting room in the Garfield County administration building in Glenwood Springs.MRI is proposing to operate the facility at the former Mid-Continent coal loadout property about two miles east of Carbondale on County Road 100. Part of MRI's trash-hauling operations are already located there.The new facility would take waste and recycling materials from the surrounding area, which would be hauled to the site, sorted and then bundled for transport to landfills or recycling centers.MRI is anticipating five large semi-truck trips to and from the facility per day to begin with, although that number is expected to increase over time.An initial haul route plan called for the trucks to travel to and from the facility from Highway 82 through Carbondale, using Highway 133 and Snowmass Drive. However, objections from town officials and residents prompted MRI to look instead at improving the bridge and using the more direct route to Highway 82 via CR 100.A proposed condition of approval now on the table would limit the haul route for the heavier trucks to the county road.Still, "The adequacy of County Road 100 [and] Catherine Bridge to serve trucks accessing the site remains a concern," county planners indicated in an updated staff report for the continued meeting."The plans for future bridge improvements have been reviewed by county staff, and the timing and funding of those improvements remain in question," the report states.If truck traffic is allowed to start before the improvements are in place, the applicant proposes to make sure truck drivers are aware of the existing bridge constraints and to avoid peak traffic times, according to the staff update.Meanwhile, the economic impact report submitted by the area homeowners suggests that nearby residential and agricultural property values would plummet by as much as $16.5 million if the waste transfer facility is approved."Waste transfer stations can increase the efficiency of a region's solid waste disposal system and can potentially reduce waste disposal costs," the BBC report acknowledges.However, "These facilities are not a benign use," the report continues. "Waste transfer stations are officially a 'noxious' or negative impact land use."Both the federal government and some state governments have analyzed the siting of waste transfer stations, primarily due to concerns about impacts on low-income and minority communities," according to the report.As far as the Carbondale site is concerned, "Local Realtors report that the proposed use of the site is already affecting the market and nearby residential property values," the report also concludes.Neighboring residents also contend the facility is poorly located and designed, would be a fire hazard and is not consistent with the long-term planning goals of Garfield County and Carbondale.Five homeowners' associations in the area have formally stated their opposition to the facility, including Roaring Fork Preserve, St. Finnbar, Mayfly Bend, the Ranch at Roaring Fork and Blue Creek Ranch.jstroud@postindependent.com


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The Aspen Times Updated Dec 7, 2012 06:18AM Published Dec 7, 2012 06:11AM Copyright 2012 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.