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Truck talk in Santa Margarita 

I just read the letter in The Tribune (“Quarry traffic,” Sept. 18) attempting to defend the proposed quarry in Santa Margarita that claims that the reported number of truck trips was “exaggerated” in the New Times article (“A rock and a hard place,” Aug. 15). The truth is that the quarry promoters have absolutely no basis for claiming that the EIR’s reported 273 truck trips per day would be “infrequent,” nor can they show that 273 trips is unrealistic. The simple, undeniable fact is that Highway 58 is a narrow, twisting, two-lane road that already sees heavy usage from the many folks who live in this rugged rural area, not to mention the large number of workers who traverse it daily to reach the solar projects in the Carrizo Plains.

For a little word problem, let’s pretend that the quarry will average only 216 truck trips per day and will operate an average of 12 hours per day (which in itself could be an exaggeration—what if the quarry operates fewer hours, thereby raising the average number of hourly trips?). If I’ve done this correctly, there would be only 18 trips per hour instead of the EIR’s average of almost 23 per hour. So every day for 12 hours the people in the extensive Santa Margarita area will have to contend with huge, lumbering trucks—no doubt traveling very slowly on roads never intended for that sort of traffic—at the rate of one truck trip every three and a third minutes. (The EIR’s supposedly unrealistic estimate would work out to almost one trip every two minutes.) And they will all be lined up along Highway 58, completely obstructing everyone who lives or works in the vicinity. Are those trucks going to move aside to let us evacuate in case of an emergency or to rush someone to the hospital? Oops, Highway 58 doesn’t have shoulders.

Can we be please honest and realistic about this and stop trying to pretend that this project will not be devastating to the Santa Margarita area and its residents?

-- Carol Harlow Moss - rural Santa Margarita

-- Carol Harlow Moss - Santa Margarita

-- Carol Harlow Moss - Santa Margarita

-- Carol Harlow Moss - Santa Margarita

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