Not opposed to asphalt plants, just to the proposed location on SR 169

Location all wrong for plants

I am writing to you to express my opposition of the Lakeside Industries asphalt plant being relocated to the old County Shops site on state Route 169.

Let me begin my stating that I am not opposed to asphalt. As retired Union 302 and property developer, asphalt is an essential building material and important component of our country’s infrastructure.

I worked on the Alaska Pipeline project in the ‘70s and for its entire duration, constructing the James W. Dalton Highway — a 414 mile supply road that supported the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System. Locally, I worked on the Interstate 405/I-167 interchange in the ‘80s and various bridges and roadways in the region. I know first-hand that asphalt fumes are nasty.

My work on the AK Pipeline project afforded me the opportunity to buy a home and property in Renton — the home I still live in more than 39 years later. My home is now subject to the possibility of being within 500 feet of an asphalt recycling and hot mix plant, its noise and its toxic emissions.

As a former professional developer, my preference would be for the county to turn the site into a park and ride serving the growing communities of Maple Valley, Black Diamond, Enumclaw and Covington. This would: 1) make the county look like heroes concerned about infrastructure, the environment and county wild spaces; 2) help alleviate traffic; 3) eliminate a serious health risk for very nearby residents; and 4) prevent toxic runoff affecting Cedar River, which flows into Lake Washington, and nearby reserve wells.

I am strongly opposed to the plant being relocated to within 500 feet of any home for a number of evidence-based reasons:

Allowing Lakeside Industries to build an asphalt plant at the old County Shops site on SR 169 will not only add roughly 500 dump trucks per day (totaling around 200,000 each year) into the already heavy traffic flow but will also impact water quality for hundreds of thousands of residents throughout the county; adversely affect salmon habitat and wildlife in the area and the region’s orca population; create safety hazards for nearby residents; and subject nearby families and all Cedar River Trail users to the acute effects of exposure to toxins created by grinding recycled asphalt and asphalt fumes from hot mix.

The basic point: this plant does not belong within a stone’s throw of the Cedar River in one direction and residential homes in the other.


Ike Kielgass