Residents: Don’t send heavy trucks through agriculture area
Several dozen people braved lightning and rain Friday to pepper one Mesa County official with questions about the ramifications of Fram Operating LLC’s proposal to use C Road to access drilling sites in northern Whitewater.
“This is an ag area,” said Joe Mixon, who lives on C Road. “It’s not a thoroughfare for semis.”
Fruit trees, vineyards and numerous homes line C Road as it heads east from 32 Road toward an area of rural Palisade known for orchards, wineries and a slower pace of life.
The possibility that Fram would use C Road as a winter access point for drilling sites from December through April drew area people to Z’s Orchard, 315 33 3/4 Road, to voice concerns and learn more about the proposal from Pete Baier, director of Public Works for Mesa County.
Baier heard residents raise questions about school bus routes, noise levels and increased traffic. C Road is part of the Palisade Fruit & Wine Byway that also attracts cyclists and tourists year-round.
“A lot of us are thinking about the safety issue,” said Mike Grode, a 30-year resident of C Road.
Baier reiterated that the Bureau of Land Management, which has final say on the proposal, hasn’t approved anything and is still seeking public comment on the proposed route.
“We are strongly encouraging (Fram) to find an alternative route,” Baier said.
The proposed route along C Road was drawn up for the winter months because Colorado Parks and Wildlife is concerned Fram’s main access points east of Whitewater on Kannah Creek and Lands End roads were in sensitive big-game winter habitats.
Baier told people to be professional and specific with comments because the BLM is more likely to digest those than a slew of “I don’t like it” comments.
The BLM’s comment period for the Fram Whitewater Project preliminary environmental assessment ends Wednesday. For more information, to comment or to read the assessment, go to http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/gjfo.html.