Hopes to break ground this fall

By Bob Ward

Sopris Sun Correspondent

It’s been more than a year since the Garfield County commissioners approved an application for a waste transfer station on County Road 100 east of Carbondale, and little if anything seems to have happened at the proposed site.

But Don Van Devander, general manager for waste-hauler Mountain Rolloffs Inc., told The Sopris Sun the company is slowly chipping away at the multitude of tasks that must precede the new trash-sorting complex. The transfer station should take shape this year on the former Mid-Continent Resources coal load-out property.

Earlier this month, Van Devander said, MRI received a green light from the Roaring Fork Transit Agency for the MRI driveway that crosses RFTA’s Rio Grande Trail. Within a few months, Van Devander expects to begin construction of a new, 2,500-square-foot truck maintenance building and other improvements.

“There’s nothing much going on now,” Van Devander said. “We hope to break ground in spring of this year.”

If all goes according to plan, he added, the new facility will open in the fall. The plan calls for trash and recyclable materials from throughout the Roaring Fork Valley to be sorted and baled at the site and then trucked to landfills or recycling centers in the region.

“This is a whole new line of business for us,” Van Devander said.

The Garfield County commissioners approved MRI’s transfer station in December 2012 after a lengthy public debate. Neighbors along County Road 100 complained that the proposed transfer station was inappropriate for an area that has changed over the last two decades from a mostly rural, large-lot neighborhood to a more densely populated residential area. But commissioners said the MRI site is still zoned for industrial use, and voted 3-0 in support of MRI’s application.

The commissioners did, however, attach many conditions to the approval, including limits on truck traffic in and out of the facility and limits on hours of operation. MRI also must build turn lanes in and out of the complex, and pay a percentage of the cost to upgrade the nearby bridge over the Roaring Fork River on County Road 100 (aka Catherine Store road).

“As a resident nearby, I’m not displeased that I haven’t seen much activity over there,” said Ron Speaker, an opponent of the project.

Speaker and other neighbors can expect construction activity to pick up this year after the snow melts. As it prepares the site, neighbors have said they expect MRI to be a good neighbor and meet all county requirements related to fire protection, emissions control, storm-water runoff and more.

Bill Gavette, deputy fire chief for the Carbondale & Rural Fire Protection District, plans to inspect the new fire alarm and fire protection systems in the MRI maintenance building, but none of those appointments have been scheduled yet.

“At some point they’ll start working on the building and they’ll submit their plans to the county,” Gavette said. “We’ll have a series of inspections.”