NEWS — Any impact on Westsyde Road caused by a new gravel pit will be monitored but the expected increase in traffic volume is considered “relatively minor,” says the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.
The ministry was responding to inquiries by The Armchair Mayor News about concerns from residents over the pit approved for 7461 Westsyde Road.
The owner of the pit, Bruce Bried, told The Armchair Mayor News last month that he doesn’t have any immediately plans to begin operation and he might not even get the access from Westsyde Road onto the property done this year.
Last September, when it was in the application phase, the pit drew an angry group of residents to a public meeting at which they expressed concerns about noise, traffic and safety.
A permit has since been approved by the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Resources and use as a gravel pit cleared by the Agricultural Land Commission.
Asked about residents’ safety concerns associated with the increased number of trucks and what the Transportation Ministry takes into consideration, the ministry replied via email that it is responsible for authorizing the road connection of the pit to the public road.
“As part of this review process, we do take these factors into consideration,” it said, but added, “In this case, the anticipated traffic volume increases are relatively minor and do not require significant upgrades to the public road access.”
Brief would have to provide the two ministries two weeks’ notice before constructing the access.
As for the general condition of Westsyde Road, which was repaved last year in the section outside the City, and in the section inside the City a few years ago, the ministry said load restrictions are checked each spring to ensure there’s no deterioration.
Residents contend the pit will add between 50 to 70 trucks a day on the road.
Here’s the complete text of the questions and answers put to the ministry:
Q. The residents in the area are concerned about the safety associated with the increased number of trucks that could be generated. When issuing a permit, does the ministry take that into consideration?
A: The ministry is responsible for authorizing the road connection of the gravel pit to the public road. As part of this review process, we do take these factors into consideration. We ask the applicant for information related to the amount of vehicles, size and estimated trips per day/hour, etc. For smaller operations (such as a private gravel pit), we ask for the information, but the increased traffic usually does not warrant additional or significant road/access improvements. If the additional volumes warrant it, we will require further studies and possibly specific improvements based on the proposed use and the amount of traffic being generated during peak hours. These improvements are typically the responsibility of the permit applicant or developer. In this case, the anticipated traffic volume increases are relatively minor and do not require significant upgrades to the public road access.
Q. Is the ministry concerned about the physical condition of the road itself and potential deterioration due to the increased heavy loads?
A: The ministry’s key goals are to provide a safe and reliable transportation network for all road users: residential, commercial and industrial. When roads are built, upgraded, and hard surfaced, we ensure this is done in accordance with our standards and specifications which take into consideration the current and anticipated road use. In addition, Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement (CVSE) officers work with industry to ensure that road users are adhering to the legal weight limits of the road. In the spring, when the roads are at their weakest, we administer a seasonal strength loss program, typically known as load restrictions, which is done to ensure there is no deterioration to the roads.
Q. When a mine/gravel pit permit is issued, does the ministry automatically become part of the review process?
A: When a mines permit application is submitted, MoTI will receive a referral request to provide comment on our policies/regulations/legislation. The Ministry of Energy and Mines will consider these comments and make their decision.