Archive for Thursday, March 13, 2003

City should address traffic concerns before quarry opens

March 13, 2003

With the possible exception of amusement parks and landfills, few proposed land uses stir the not-in-my-backyard sentiments as rock quarries.

It isn't surprising then that all Eudora representatives at a joint meeting of the Eudora and Douglas County planning commission voted to recommend denial of a request from Hamm's Quarry to re-open and expand a quarry southeast of Eudora. Their vote was in stark contrast to those of the county's representatives, who were unanimous in voting for approval. Those county members probably noted the quarry's relatively isolated location -- it is, after all, in the neighborhood of Wilderness Park -- and concluded little harm could come from a quarry smack up against the county's eastern boundary.

Few as they may be, the quarry's neighbors obviously don't agree. It's hoped the County Planning Commission's unanimous recommendation doesn't signal a dismissal of the neighbors concerns for security, noise, dust and traffic. Hamm Quarry officials are right when they state quarry operations are constrained by state and federal regulations, but nothing prevents the county from enacting stricter rules if local conditions warrant.

The concern in Eudora is obviously traffic. Hamm officials said 100 truckloads of rock a day could roll out of the quarry on peak construction days. That could mean up to 200 trucks a day on Church Street south of Kansas Highway 10. That can't be good news to city officials planning expensive upgrades to that very stretch of road. More disquieting is the thought of that truck traffic passing by the town's middle school and high school. The red flag that prospect waves should have city and school officials calling for an alternative route, such as East 2300 Road. It also suggests once again the need for a K-10 interchange at Winchester Road. Cities have the authority to restrict trucks because of legitimate safety reasons. Eudora officials should look at doing exactly that before the quarry opens.

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