Who Yields? – City wrestles with Government Valley traffic concerns

(Jeff Moberg photo)

By Sarah Pridgeon

Residents of Government Valley Road approached the council during this month’s regular session to speak out against the decision to allow gravel trucks to continue traveling along the road. Complaining of noise, safety issues and disruption to local businesses, they requested that the emergency resolution to lower the road’s weight limit be repealed.

At last month’s meeting, Basic Energy Services requested that the weight limit be increased on Government Valley Road because the alternative route is highly unsuitable for trucks and adds 18 miles to each truck’s journey. This renders operations at the gravel pit not only non-cost effective, but also dangerous for the drivers.

The council, despite reservations about the damage the trucks may do to the asphalt, agreed to temporarily lift the weight restrictions until the company’s current contract is completed. Basic Energy agreed to sign a maintenance agreement requiring the company to make repairs to the road should damage occur.

Bernie Cogan, owner of Mountain View Campground, and Gaylord Lenz, who owns Lenz’s Mountain View Estates, protested that decision at this month’s council meeting.

“Government Valley Road is no different to Main Street,” said Cogan. “Homes and businesses don’t want trucks going up and down, eight trucks per hour.”

Cogan claimed that the trucks affect his business, which he advertises as “clean and quiet.” In the era of internet review pages, when vacationers use comparison sites to choose a campsite, it can be harmful, said Cogan, when those reviews complain about noise and dirt from trucks from early morning to late in the evening.

Lenz added that disruption occurs for the families living on the road. There being no sidewalk, and no alternative walking route, Lenz claimed that Government Valley Road has become dangerous for walkers because the blind spots, curves and high hills make it inappropriate for large, heavy trucks to travel.

“This could ruin the campground business, which is important to Sundance, and my mobile home park makes the area even denser with families,” Lenz explained. “There are 29 families on the street, not counting the several hundred people in the campground between April and November.”

Kelly Lang, General Manager of Basic Energy, acknowledged the comments and the concerns of the road’s residents but said he couldn’t be sure of the best answer to the problem.

“The gravel pit’s been there for years, the county had it before we bought it in 2003,” he said. “The county doesn’t want us going the other way… FOR THE REST OF THE STORY, PICK UP A COPY OF THIS WEEK’S SUNDANCE TIMES