New gravel plant for southwest ring road construction causes dustup

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New gravel plant for southwest ring road construction causes dustup

Residents on Calgary's southwestern edge met on Thursday to express their frustration with plans for a gravel plant near their homes that will help with construction of the southwest portion of the ring road.  

The gravel pit and crushing operation is located west of Bridlewood and north of Highway 22X. An asphalt processing plant will be added at the same site this summer.

The province says the contractor didn't inform it of the need for the gravel until after the December public information session.

Residents concerned

But residents from three nearby communities — West Springs, Evergreen and Bridlewood — find that hard to believe, according to Sharon Turner of the Bridle Estates Homeowners' Association.

Turner says residents applaud the plan for the ring road, but the problem is they weren't told about the gravel plant until January.   

"We think likely the decision has been made to speed up the process because they're under a timeline and they were trying to forestall any kind of public response that might jeopardize the start of the whole thing," Turner says.

Andres Valencia, who lives in Bridlewood, says he was caught off guard by the dust and fumes coming from the construction site.

"My three kids are all asthmatic, and if I let them play outside … I'm pretty sure, within time, their asthma will grow, will be worse," he said.

"I wasn't told there was going to be a crush operation less than a kilometre from my house, or an asphalt plant."

Seizing the opportunity

Alberta Transportation's urban construction manager Rizwan Hussain says it's important to make use of large gravel resources when they are located, as was the case in this area.

But he said excavation in the area would have been required at the site regardless, in order to construct an overpass at 162nd Avenue and to build a stormwater pond nearby.

"The only thing that has changed is that we have a gravel resource which we need to use," he said.

Hussain said daily noise and air monitoring will be done throughout the construction process.

"We understand that construction operations causes nuisance, causes some dust, causes some noise issues. And we are doing everything possible to mitigate any impact to the public," he said. 

This isn't the only gravel operation linked to the ring road that has raised concerns.

Earlier in the year, residents of West Springs learned there would be a gravel pit operating for five years near their homes. 

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