Boca Quarry expansion would increase mining load to 1 million tons per year
TRUCKEE, Calif. — The Boca Quarry expansion project is moving forward to the Nevada County Board of Supervisors, following the Planning Commission’s approval.
“There’s a number of project benefits with this particular site and the way the project is setup that benefit Truckee, Nevada County and the surrounding area,” said Michael Smith of Teichert, the company behind the operation.
The site, located off West Hinton Road north of Interstate 80 about 30 minutes west of Reno across the state line, currently mines from one 40-acre area, the East Pit, at which the processing plant is located.
The project plans to open up the 118-acre West Pit for mining, increasing the maximum annual extraction from 100,000 tons to 1 million tons of aggregate with an extraction limit of 17 million tons over 30 years.
“We feel that there’s a market here,” said Smith. “It fluctuates greatly over the years but historically has shown that there is a market of a million tons,” said Smith.
However, there were concerns raised by neighbors during the review process. Among those issues was the haul route, the volume of trucks, the hours of operation including blasting hours, emergency vehicle access, fire prevention and bicycle safety.
While the haul route will remain the same along Stampede Meadows Road and West Hinton Road, concerns were raised about the increased number of trucks in that area.
If the site is producing 1 million tons a year, the project could result in a maximum of 55,556 truck trips removing aggregate in that year, or 1,400 trips a day.
Smith said the actual amount of trips taken is completely dependent on the market demand at the time. Over the next 30 years, they estimate there will be 361 trips per day to the Boca Quarry, assuming that the Truckee and Martis Valley quarries, which are also operated by Teichart, are not operating.
However, Smith said they both “have a little bit of life left in them.”
Without the quarry expansion, trucks traveling from outside the area to Truckee will travel an additional 50,000 vehicle miles per day. With a local supply of rock, Smith said the aggregate will be cheaper for local contractors due to a smaller transportation cost.
“If it’s not served from us it will come from Reno or it will come from the western side towards Sacramento County,” said Smith.
Roadway improvement along Stampede Meadows Road will come along with the project including the addition of bicycle lanes.
“We are going to create a scenario that actually has better roadway system,” Smith said.
The quarry would operate from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays. While blasting could begin at 7 a.m. Smith said the blasting usually takes place later in the day.
According to a staff report the project will have no significant impacts to emergency vehicles or school bus access. As far as fire prevention goes Smith said they don’t store blasting materials on site. In addition they have a well on site and a water truck that is available in case of emergencies.
“The goal of the project and all the studies was to understand how we could increase the capacity while meeting the CEQA requirements and meeting community needs,” said Commissioner Hardy Bullock. “I think the applicants have done that.”
Teichert first took over the site in 2005. The expansion project has been in the works since 2010 when the company first submitted an application to the county to begin mining from the West Pit.
In 2011, an initial environmental study was approved but later appealed due to concerns regarding aesthetics, air quality, greenhouse gases, water supply, traffic and circulation.
The Planning Commission reviewed the project at their July 5 meeting and released a Final Environmental Document earlier this month. The Nevada County Board of Supervisors will hear the project at a future date.
The project is possible through a $337,000 grant from the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, a $282,000 grant from the William N. Pennington Foundation, a $150,000 gift from Tesla and a $10,000 donation from Wells Fargo.