Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Gravel Truck Traffic

Woodstock City Council member RB Thompson raised important issues at last night's marathon City Council meeting about the gravel-hauling truck traffic to be generated by the Merryman mining project.

Tom Merryman expects to mine 1,000,000 tons over a seven-year period. Someone's calculator worked, and that came out to 142,000 tons/year - on the average. How many trucks loaded with gravel will pull out on U.S. Highway 14 in a year? 6,500 trucks per year. On the average.

OK, so 6,500 trucks/year = "only" 22 trucks a day, assuming 300 working days with mining hours of 7AM-9PM Monday-Saturday, as approved. On the average.

Of course, averages don't really mean anything. They are just numbers.

RB was on the right track with his questions, but he didn't push hard enough. Any driver who has ever pulled up to the stop sign on Lily Pond Road at Route 14 (by the closed LaTejanita Restaurant (which is becoming a used vehicle lot (it's in the County, not the City))) knows it is almost impossible to turn left to go to Crystal Lake. And most of the trucks will be turning left, according to statements last night. Turning right (toward Woodstock) is hard enough; turning left - safely - is next to impossible.

Now imagine that you are the driver of a gravel truck hauling 22 tons of aggravate just loaded. You wait and wait, and then you wait some more. Finally, you see a little opening and you start across the westbound lane, hoping eastbound drivers will slow (probably sharply). Gravel trucks are not known for rapid acceleration; right?

What the heck! If they hit you, there will be far greater damage to their shiny SUVs than to your gravel truck.

Will Woodstock have to annex the LaTejanita property and buy the restaurant for a police sub-station to handle all the accidents? Will Woodstock Fire & Rescue partner with the P.D.? Fire trucks and paramedics will certainly be needed at the accident scenes.

Can Lily Pond Road handle 6,500 trucks at 22 tons each?

Thanks, RB, for raising your important questions. Too bad the full answers didn't show up.


Laura said...

1st off, i am not thrilled with the mining for baseball extortion deal, but how about a stoplight at lily pond and 14? just sayin'

Richard W Gorski, M.D. said...

You forgot about what is going to happen when the first train going 50 to 60 mph T-bones a gravel truck crossing the tracks on Lily Pond Road. I've almost met my demise there going across those tracks going to the hospital.

Gus said...

A temporary light there will be essential and probably life-saving for many. Maybe even a permanent light. Laura, how about contacting IDOT and letting the engineer know that you want to be involved when this project surfaces (if it ever does).