Community Support Needed to Protect Public Safety on Our Rural Roads

A recent traffic study shows that gravel trucks will not fit on rural roads in Central Samish Valley. “My main issue continues to be CNW’s pirating our roadways with an attitude that the public can dodge their trucks/trailers as they cross centerlines and intersections,” said community member Wallace Groda. The image above from 2019 accident in Indiana.

We still face the prospect of a massive increase in heavy, industrial truck traffic on our quiet rural roads. As proposed by Puyallup-based Miles Sand & Gravel, the permit for the Grip Road Gravel Mine north of Sedro-Woolley would allow up to 30 truck and trailer trips per hour each way on Grip Road and Prairie Road over the next 25 years, without any meaningful road safety improvements.  These narrow, winding roads are simply not designed to handle the size or the number of trucks required to safely haul this much gravel.

  • Are you worried about the safety of your family with dozens of gravel trucks running every day on Grip and Prairie Roads without meaningful road improvements? 
  • Do you think there should be limits on the hours of operation and the number of gravel trucks allowed on our narrow winding substandard roads?
  • Do you think the mine operators should share the cost of road improvements necessary to make our roads safe for the additional heavy traffic that is proposed? 
  • Are you concerned about traffic congestion and commuting delays that so many slow-moving gravel trucks will cause?

We are doing our best to fight this reckless proposal, but we need your help.  After five years of pushback from the community, it still looks like the permit will be approved without conditions that will protect public safety and the environment.  Once the excavation starts on the 60-acre open pit mine, there is no going back — dump trucks will flood our narrow and substandard roads for the foreseeable future.

Please consider a donation to support our efforts to protect our public safety and quality of life.  Even small donations will help! Several Central Samish Valley Neighbors have stepped up and expressed their willingness to match up to $2,000 in new donations dollar for dollar. The funds will be used to hire a a professional traffic engineer who will provide credible input for the permit requirements to protect community safety, and for subsequent legal action if needed.

Central Samish Valley Neighbors’ GoFundMe Page.

Skagit County’s Planning and Development Services (PDS) has outsourced traffic safety review to consultants who haven’t visited or travelled our roads.  One example of the shortcomings: Miles’ recent report finally admits that some of the corners on the haul route are so tight that the gravel trucks will stray two-to-three feet over the centerline into oncoming traffic, but states that it isn’t Miles’ problem to fix.  The County’s consultant and Skagit County Public Works Department inevitably “green light” all the findings of these so-called studies.

We keep asking PDS when they will go public with the permit process, and they assure us that we will be the ‘first to know’, but they still haven’t provided a timeline.  It could be next month, or six months or a year, but one thing is certain: the trucks are coming and we have to keep fighting to be heard.

Unfortunately, we must hire our own independent expert – this has become abundantly clear in watching how County officials respond.  If we do not provide supporting testimony from a professional traffic engineer, community concerns will be shrugged off.   A ‘third-party’ expert will provide credible input for the permit requirements to protect community safety, and for subsequent legal action if needed.  This will cost at least $7,000.  We have raised enough money from previous donations, and more recently among our core group, to retain the traffic engineer, and to pay for some ongoing legal defense.  However we do not have enough money to sustain this effort.  

We are all volunteers and members of this community. All funds go to expenses directly related to challenging the mining permit.  However, we are not a formal registered non-profit organization, therefore your donations are not tax deductible.  If there are any funds remaining when this effort is over, we intend to donate them to the Hickson Fire Hall and Hoogdal Community Club.  Thank you for your help.

Additionally, please know that traffic safety is not the only concern we have about this mine proposal. We have submitted detailed comments about environmental concerns including impacts to water quality in the Samish River, impacts to fish and wildlife habitat and many other issues.  For more on this, please see our comment letters at: https://www.skagitcounty.net/Departments/PlanningAndPermit/gravelmine.htm

Questions? Email us:  gravelpitcsvn@gmail.com

Prefer to just mail a donation:  Checks can be made out to Linda Walsh / CSVN (mailing address: 21710 Prairie Rd, Sedro Woolley, WA 98284).

Traffic study shows gravel trucks will not fit on existing rural roads. This is image is from accident in Indiana.

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