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More dump trucks planned

Two years after sending a fleet of dump trucks up and down the Mine Road to haul away contaminated soils, developers in Empire Pass plan to conduct a similar operation in 2007.

They say the first operation, in 2005, was successful but there is more soil in Empire Pass that should be removed from the site.

Neighbors along Marsac Avenue were livid in 2005 as the operation was in the planning stages but the hauling was completed without major problems. This year’s hauling has not been widely publicized and there does not appear to be organized opposition.

The developers plan to remove about 125,000 cubic yards of material while excavating the site where a Montage hotel is slated, near Deer Valley Resort’s Empire lodge. Of that material, City Hall estimates between 15,000 and 20,000 cubic yards will be found with elevated levels of contaminants, like lead, zinc and arsenic.

The contaminated material will be trucked out, as was the case in 2005, when about 59,000 cubic yards were removed from other parts of Empire Pass.

"We’re following the same protocols that Talisker followed when they conducted the previous haul," says Jeff Mongan, an executive with The Athens Group, the Phoenix-based part owner and developer of the local Montage, referring to the overall Empire Pass developer. "There should be no problems. It should be a normal operation."

The dump trucks will carry the material to a spot on the southeast corner of Richardson Flats, east of Park City, designed to hold the contaminated soil and rock. The plan requires the dump trucks to travel on S.R. 224 and S.R. 248, the same route that they used in 2005. The route passes a row of houses on upper Marsac Avenue, travels on Deer Valley Drive and onto Kearns Boulevard.

City Hall will limit the work to 10 hours each day, Mondays through Saturdays, with no hauling allowed on Sundays. The crews must inform the local government what hours they will be hauling. Eight trucks outfitted with trailers, known as ‘pups,’ are expected to haul the material and the Utah Highway Patrol is required to inspect each truck before they start the operation. The city requires a $10,000 bond and will draw from the bond if the dump trucks are ticketed for speeding.

Mongan says he expects the dump trucks will start in June or July, depending on weather, and the operation will last between 10 and 15 days if the weather is good. He calls the 2007 operation "relatively minor in scale" compared to 2005.

The material is now situated at the top of the local watershed and the potential of the contaminants reaching the water was a key point as the first haul was considered. At that time, there were differing scientific opinions about whether the material posed a threat where it was.

The Marsac Avenue neighborhood was worried about the prospects of a dump truck losing its brakes during its Mine Road descent. A series of accidents on the Mine Road going back years has been blamed on lost brakes caused by the steepness of the street.

The hauling rules require drivers to stop at a brake-check area at the top of the steepest part of the Mine Road and the police plan to patrol the route more frequently during the operation.

Park City officials contemplated whether to allow the Montage for more than a year before the City Council earlier in 2007 agreed to change a prior development deal regulating Empire Pass.

The Montage, with plans for about 180 hotel rooms and another 90 condominiums, is envisioned as one of Park City’s ritziest lodging properties, anchoring Empire Pass and turning the area around the Empire lodge into another teeming Deer Valley locale.

The developers plan to break ground in 2007 and expect the Montage will open in the summer 2010.

Park City Councilwoman Marianne Cone, who lives on Prospect Avenue, near the Mine Road, says it is "annoying" that another operation is planned and that "it seems like we were done with that."

She says City Hall staffers did a good job monitoring the previous operation but says if there were an accident this year, the mood in the neighborhood would change.

"If a truck were to crash into anything and dump its load, hazardous waste, it would be a whole different story," Cone says.


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