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Truck-route plan stirs a rumble

Noise and danger are concerns in Farmington

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FARMINGTON — Some residents are poised to battle Legacy Parkway contractors over a planned haul route that is slated to begin this week along the city's historic Main Street.

About 100 property owners along the route received letters Saturday notifying them that work was scheduled to begin Thursday on the Burke Lane Interchange as part of the Legacy Highway project. The ultimate goal of the Burke Lane project is to connect western Farmington to eastern Farmington, Legacy Highway spokesman Rod Clifford said.

The letter, which was sent out jointly by the city, Legacy Highway and the highway contractors, states that for the next seven to eight weeks, single- and double-trailer trucks will transport fill material from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., adding a second haul shift from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. after the first two weeks.

The letter promises residents that trucks will obey speed limits and won't use noisy brakes. It also promises that the trucks will be cleaned after they leave the gravel-loading site so that debris isn't scattered.

"We've done everything we can do to minimize this," Clifford said. "The people that select the routes and plan the haul, they don't take that lightly."

That is not good enough for some residents, however, who say the proposed route puts schoolchildren at risk and that youngsters walk on Main and State. It also threatens to damage the city's historic buildings with vibrations from the large trucks, resident Alysa Revell said. Many homes and churches in the historic district are built of adobe and brick.

"Everyone we talked to was just astonished at this," Revell said. "For them to be hauling these big trucks with gravel 20 hours a day is going to be very disruptive . . . If there was no other route, then I'd think, well, there's no other way to go."

But she says there is another possible route, one that is shorter and simpler. The trucks could instead travel along the Lagoon Drive frontage road, which is bordered by the freeway on one side and mostly commercial businesses on the other. She says the reason the contractor has chosen a more disruptive route may be because city leaders and residents are pitching a fight to stop a gravel pit on the hillside near the Farmington/Centerville border.

"I wonder if it's the contractors thumbing their noses at us, saying 'Well, we're going to take it right through your town anyway,' " she said.

Clifford says he understands the concerns of residents because "no one likes big trucks driving down in their neighborhood," but that the Lagoon Drive route would not be practical. He says many of the residents' concerns have been addressed, including a plan to increase law enforcement in the area once school begins in the fall. The project will ultimately benefit the city, he said.

E-MAIL: ehayes@desnews.com