Helper council reviews options in effort to resolve gravel pile dispute
A gravel pile in Helper remained a subject of concern last week for the city council as members worked to mediate a dispute between resident K.C. Williams and W.W. Clyde, the contractor working to construct the interchange at U.S. Highway 6 and North Main Street.
The matter initially came before the council on Oct. 5, when Williams requested the city's help to enforce state, federal and local laws and regulations regarding a gravel pile located adjacent to his home on property owned by Utah Railway.
The gravel pit was created by W.W. Clyde as the contractor stockpiled materials which will be used later to build the highway grades.
Williams' complaints about the gravel pit include dust pollution, storm water problems and issues relating to heavy truck traveling to and from the gravel pile.
After the original concerns were brought up at the beginning of the month, Helper officials heard a report on Oct. 19 from Councilmember Bob Farrell, who was assigned to address the issue.
Farrell indicated that three state and federal agencies had visited the gravel pile site and observed conditions in the area.
"The state did not find any wrongdoing," said Farrell.
Helper Attorney Gene Strate said that he had reviewed the matter and could not find any violations of city ordinances.
Without any obvious criminal wrongdoing, the city attorney indicated that he could see no reason to cite W.W. Clyde.
While a civil lawsuit is still a possibility, Strate explained that, in his opinion, such a case would be extremely difficult.
Further, the attorney stated his opinion that future concerns should likely be brought to the Utah Department of Transportation, the state agency overseeing the contractor's performance on the project.
Williams voiced concern about the fact that the gravel pile was located within a Rocky Mountain Power right of way. Therefore, there were high voltage electrical transmission lines crossing directly above the gravel pile.
Jason Whitman, the superintendent of the project, responded to Williams' concerns by stating that safety personnel from the power company were to be on site whenever construction crews removed materials from the pile.
The construction company representative added that Rocky Mountain Power was also going to provide a training course to construction crews in an effort to promote safety at the work site.
Whitman continued to explain that the pile would be removed during the course of the project. The materials would be removed starting at the west end in order to leave the bulk of the pile as a wind break for Williams' property, which is located east of the gravel pile.
One of the other complaints brought up by Williams and echoed by Councilmember Dean Armstrong at the meeting in Oct. 5 meeting related to trucks which were loaded higher than what is legally allowed on Utah roads.
Whitman explained that the company had again warned drivers to stay in compliance with load height regulations.
The construction company representative indicated that the drivers who fail to comply will no longer be warned, but instead will be dismissed from employment.
Introducing an unrelated matter at the council meeting, Whitman explained that the construction company is seeking to lower the speed limit to 35 miles an hour through the construction zone.
The construction company representative said rivers have been cited for speeds in excess of 85 mph and vehicles continually pass through the zone at high speeds.
The construction supervisor said the company hopes drivers will slow down if the speed is lowered. In order to keep construction workers safe, Helper police have stepped up enforcement through the construction zone.
Mayor Mike Dalpiaz indicated that law enforcement officers will continue to patrol the area with increased frequency and will cite drivers who fail to slow down to the lower speed limit.