The people who live on Judge Ben Allen Road in Carter County did now want Aggregates U.S.A to re-open the old rock quarry that sits in their neighborhood. However despite their opposition, the property is permitted and Aggregates U.S.A. says they plan to re-open the quarry by the end of the year. Now, the people against it say they will fight anything the company does. Which includes widening the road to allow large dump trucks easier access to the quarry entrance.
“Our desire to widen the road is to make it better for our neighbors and better for our customers,” said Jim McGill with Aggregates U.S.A.
Those against the re-opening of the quarry, say widening the road will only make matters worse. Some said changing the road will allow dump trucks to drive faster through their neighborhood. Another issue, many of the people are worried the county will take away their land to widen the road.
“How much of my property are they going to take?” asked one neighbor to the Carter County Highway Committee.
“Keep the road as is, because it will cause truck drivers to go slower,” said another neighbor to the committee.
According to Aggregates U.S.A., no matter the width of the road, dump truck drivers have a specific license, a CDL. The company says traffic violations will strip truck drivers of that license, so the drivers will not speed or drive dangerously on the road. As far as taking away property from people, Aggregates U.S.A. says that is not what they are looking to do. The company asked the county to use it's easement surrounding the road to make the changes. The company also offered to pay for the entire project, which some neighbors said they are in favor of.
“The road needs to be widened, one way or the other, but especially with the rock quarry coming,” said one neighbor.
“Why not take their offer and improve the road and make it safer for the folks who live on it,” said another neighbor.
Aggregates U.S.A. said no matter what, the quarry will re-open, but they hoped to improve the road conditions surrounding it.
With the controversy surrounding the quarry, the Carter County Highway Committee tabled the decision on whether or not to widen the road. The committee is looking into another option that would change the access road to the quarry to Menton Hollow Road.