It is nearly impossible for the average person to imagine the enormous scale of the proposed Las Pilitas LLC quarry on Highway 58 at the Salinas River. Double-trailer gravel trucks will travel from the town of Santa Margarita to the proposed quarry site at the Salinas River and return via Highway 58 to Highway 101. It is estimated there will be an average of 200 truck trips per day on the quarry haul route. That is 12.5 trucks per hour in and 12.5 trucks per hour out from the proposed quarry site or a truck every five minutes on each side of the road. That means there would be a truck at the elementary school crossing in town every 2.5 minutes. Of course, these are average truck trips and could be more or less depending on aggregate demand and other considerations.
Impact mitigations give more of a perspective of the scale, such as a left turn lane at the site required by Caltrans. An acceleration lane, which is imperative for safety, hasn’t been evaluated. The applicant has offered speed bumps on the residential streets of H and I in the town of Santa Margarita because of the anticipated increase in auto traffic choosing to circumvent the truck traffic. The applicant has also offered walkie-talkies to communicate with the school crossing guard as trucks are approaching.
SLO County Planning staff evaluation is recommending denial of this new quarry. SLO Planning Commissioners will need to present overriding considerations to approve.
-- David Ballantyne - Santa Margarita