A sand mine in Monroe County could bring a new truck route that runs through the town of Millston, causing some concern over how it would affect residents.
Meteor Timber, LLC has submitted an application for a Nonmetallic Mine Operators License that includes the town of Knapp in Jackson County and Grant in Monroe County.
Trucking route issues are the most recent concern brought up in regards to the mine. Chris Hubbuch reported in the Jan. 18 issue of the Jackson County Chronicle that there are also concerns with the wetlands at Meteor’s mining site.
Running between Knapp and Grant, this route ends up taking trucks straight through the heart of Millston and that has some people worried about the problems that could create.
“It’s just not good for the community,” chairman of Deli, Inc., an agricultural plant with operations in Millston, David Epstein said.
Epstein is worried that the added toll of Meteor’s trucks driving over County Highway O along with Deli’s own trucks would be too much stress on the road and cause significant damage.
Damage to the roads isn’t the only concern, with all the extra trucks being forced to stop and idle in Millston because of the frequency of trains running through town, many are concerned it will cause health problems due to all of the extra exhaust.
“There are about 14 trains that come through Millston,” Epstein said, “Meteor’s trucks would be putting out all that extra idling exhaust and blocking the entrance to our plant.”
Any back up in traffic due to trains or other congestion would also cause the trucks to block the entrance to the Post Office as well.
The health and safety of not only his employees, but of the general population of Millston as well, is Epstein’s main concern and he says he isn’t opposed to Meteor Timber conducting any business, he just hopes they could use a different route.
Project Manager Chris Mathis says those concerns, while valid, are already being addressed by the company and their operations are no different than other companies.
“The Jackson County Zoning committee voted unanimously to approve our plan,” Mathis said. “Similar companies have used similar roads in similar ways throughout the county, what we’re doing is no different.”
Mathis also stated that concerns over health issues were heard and understood by the zoning committee, but the route through Millston was the best way to protect the public and that Meteor intends on investing into the roadway to ensure its safety.
There was also an agreement reached to not use the road during the town’s Memorial and Labor Day festivities, leaving it open for those to continue unimpeded.
In a letter to Meteor, though, the law firm Stroud Willink & Howard LLC state that an alternate route that uses town roads would likely solve many of the concerns that Deli and the citizens of Millston have.
The letter also states that while Meteor has done tests in Knapp and Grant, no tests have been done in Millston regarding the extra noise, exhaust, dust, etc. that the truck traffic would bring.
Mathis says all of these concerns were heard and discussed at length during the zoning committee meeting and their application was still approved.