Two primary arterials in Utah's capital city are under environmental siege by fleets of construction trucks preparing the University of Utah's Rice Stadium for the 2002 Winter Games.
Not only have the trucks, trailers in tow, spilled mountains of dirt on Guardsman Way and 500 South, but dust from construction work has worsened the area's fine-particulate pollution.When it rains or snows, dirt from work to ready Rice for opening and closing Winter Games ceremonies runs off the road into the stormwater drainage system, creating an ecological hazard to the Jordan River.
"If the athletes behaved toward their sports as the Olympics are behaving toward the environment, they wouldn't qualify," said Ivan Weber, a former member of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee's environmental advisory committee.
The Rice Stadium renovation is a $53 million expansion and upgrade whose principal impetus is the 2002 Games.
People began calling the state Department of Environmental Quality last week to complain about the dirty roads.
The complaints prompted investigations by the state Division of Air Quality, the state Division of Water Quality and the Salt Lake County Health Department.
After visiting the site on Friday, county health inspector Ted Diamant said he asked the university to dispatch street sweepers immediately to remove dirt from the pavement.
"We don't need any more dirt in the Jordan River," Diamant said.
Also on Friday, the state Division of Facilities Construction and Management, which oversees the project, ordered the general contractor, Layton Construction Co., to "increase their diligence."