Nearly 100 people showed up for a meeting in Kamas – most of them upset with UDOT for the additional noise that’s been created at their homes as a result of the new chip seal that was put down on 248 top repair a bad paving job last year. Melissa Allison brings us the story:
Utah Department of Transportation Engineers Danny Page and Lonnie Marchant weren’t expecting the large, angry, crowd. But they agreed to show up and talk with the community about the issue and to hear their concerns.
When Marchant told the crowd the source of the water damaging the road was from afternoon storms, the community responded in chorus.
"Where is it coming form then?” one woman asked.
“These are storms and it takes a while…,” Marchant said.
“No,” the group cried.
“It was wet…before it had ever even froze,” the woman said.
Marchant told KPCW they chose to fix the problem with chip seal for a couple of reasons.
“Obviously first and paramount in everything we do is safety to the traveling public,” Marchant said. “The secondary condition of why we opted to do what we did is for pavement preservation. To keep the moisture out of migrating internally to that pavement. When we build highways, water is not our friend, so we do everything we can to keep water out from inside the pavement.”
But that didn’t satisfy the group. They insist the noise is as much of a priority as safety since the noise coming from the road, now severely impacts their sense of well-being. Many of them complained that they couldn’t keep their windows open this summer- and could still hear the road noise even with the windows closed.
Suggestions included everything from lowering the speed limit, to which Page said was a possibility, to adding stop lights and getting an engineering expert to look at the road and make his own recommendation.
What the group didn’t know, is that Marchant is a long-term resident of Summit County and he commutes daily along the very road they’re talking about.
“Being a long-term resident of the county … I’ve witnessed firsthand some of the issues associated with that,” Marchant told KPCW. “Some of the pain, so I understand the issues and no one was more troubled when they saw the water continue to leak out of that pavement than me.”
Not everyone in the crowd however, was upset. There was at least one woman who said she wasn’t as bothered by the noise as her neighbors.
Richard Todd has lived in the area for five years and told KPCW he’s pleased with the outcome of the meeting.
“We’re just talking with them,” Todd said. “They’re open to continuing the conversation and developing a path forward. And so, you know, that’s, that’s a good point to leave at.”
Peter Kemp who organized the meeting said they just want the road they had prior to 2017.
“Which means, at least in the residential corridor, from top of Browns Bridge to Hideout Tuhaye is to mill it and repave it,” Kemp said. “Make it like it was before. Because, we didn’t buy in for double road noise when we decided to live here.”
Moving forward, Page said a noise study will be done in the next month or so, but he wouldn’t commit to an exact date. But he added, once they get the results, it’ll be too late in the season to do anything to the road this year. But, he said, the discussion will continue.
I’m Melissa Allison, KPCW News.