Concrete plant in Snowmass might make sense
June 23, 2005
Snowmass Village has yet another hard decision to make. As if it weren’t enough just to decide whether to build a new Base Village at Snowmass Ski Area, elected officials and residents must now decide whether it makes sense to build a concrete plant in their quiet little village to generate the huge amount of cement required to build Base Village.Almost feels like adding insult to injury, doesn’t it? A resort town, already facing the indignity of multiple years of construction activity, is now expected to invite a concrete plant into its midst?But hang on a minute. There are legitimate arguments for placing such a facility for 18 months or so in the rarefied air of Snowmass Village.Officials estimate that some 22,000 cubic yards of concrete will be needed to build Base Village, mostly for a huge underground parking structure, and that material will have to come from somewhere. If it isn’t made on site, then the concrete will have to be trucked in from somewhere else – and that means hundreds of concrete mixers traveling Brush Creek Road. Imagine not only the traffic jams (Is there any vehicle slower than a full cement truck climbing Brush Creek Road on a powder day?) but the damage to Brush Creek Road.And the impacts of this decision, whichever way it goes, will be felt beyond the Brush Creek Valley. Without a concrete plant in Snowmass, concrete trucks will undoubtedly travel Highway 82. Base Village construction will generate huge amounts of traffic in any event, and an opportunity to take a few slow-moving trucks out of the mix, especially during commuter hours, should receive a close look.The flip side of these arguments is obvious. Nobody, especially the well-heeled residents of Snowmass Village, wants a concrete plant in his back yard. None of us at the paper has ever worked at a concrete plant, but we’re guessing it would generate a fair amount of noise and dust. And if it’s located where it should be, in close proximity to Base Village, it’ll be within spitting distance of Fanny Hill, the mall and a whole lot of homes and vacation condos.Nobody would want such a thing in their town, particularly a resort. Still, it may just be the right thing to do.Everyone knew the construction of Base Village would be a royal, multiyear headache for Snowmass. But the town’s voters approved the project.The trick in the coming years is to get Base Village built with as few construction-related hassles as possible. Snowmass Village town officials will study this concrete plant idea top to bottom and will likely make the final decision.We hope town officials will consider not just their own valley, but the rest of the Roaring Fork Valley, its main traffic artery and all the commuters who use it, in their deliberations.