Utah community claims seasonal truck-parking lot for drivers stuck in bad weather is “perhaps distasteful”

A community in Utah is protesting the opening of a seasonal truck-parking lot for drivers stuck in bad winter weather, claiming that it may be “distasteful.” The Utah Department of Transportation says that the lot, which is near Bell Station at Silver Creek Junction, will be fully available to truck drivers October through May to allow drivers a safe space to park their trucks and rest as they navigate the restrictions on their hours-of-service. However, despite the state’s logical reasoning for the opening of the truck parking lot, residents of Summit County are worried about the financial, environmental, and aesthetic costs of the new lot on their community. “Currently UDOT is proposing to have that truck parking available October to May. We had been pushing for that to be an opening and closing gate depending on storms so that it was just essentially for chain up and not necessarily for continuous truck parking,” said council member Roger Armstrong. “UDOT is standing pretty firm on the notion of making that full-time parking for trucks not just storms, not just a chain-up area. For a variety of reasons [sic] and one of them that was articulated was restrictions on the hours of driving and that truckers needed a place to shelter.”

Armstrong claims that residents of the area are concerned about the volume of semi trucks affecting the water and air quality, as well as safety issues, and the matter of who will provide funds for the lighting and signage that will need to be put into place, reported KPCW. “We don’t want something being built that’s perhaps distasteful to people in the community already. On top of that we’ve got carrying costs associated with that we’re not getting funding for. That would include signage, video surveillance, air quality and anti-idling enforcement,” he said. “Here we’re going to have diesel trucks parked in an area near home owners. We’ve received complaints that they can smell diesel smells now… Topographically you just look at that area and realize that it is a local concentration of pollutants… and the winter time is when it’s going to be at its worst so that’s the problem. We’ve got thicker air it’s just a problem.” Armstrong also says residents have safety concerns regarding large tractor trailers driving through their neighborhoods to get in and out of the lot. “Circulation [of traffic] is clearly an issue there already today without any of this. We need to figure out how trucks move through that area especially in close proximity to cars and school busses and bus stops.” So far, UDOT has basically ignored the complaints of Summit County residents, but has said the state may be willing to help the county out financially when it comes to things like signage.

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