Recently, I was driving very early in the morning on Fifth Sideroad, near Dublin Line. I noticed over a dozen gravel trucks waiting for the Dufferin Quarry to open. They were parked on the east side of the roundabout. I was then told that number could increase to 40+ gravel trucks.
I realized that the same could happen to Reid Sideroad in Campbellville.
These large vehicles can pose several risks and challenges when quarry operations occur near residential communities. These range from environmental concerns and public health risks to traffic and noise pollution. Heavy truck traffic on local roads and Highway 401 will increase congestion, commute times, and the potential for serious accidents and personal injury. At maximum production, if the application for the Campbellville Quarry were approved, James Dick Construction would add 60,000 trucks annually (at peak times, one truck every two minutes) to area roads and the 401.
Environmental and Health Concerns
Quarry trucks, by the nature of their operation, can contribute significantly to air pollution. They generate dust and emit exhaust fumes, which can have detrimental effects on the local air quality. Close to residential communities, this pollution can result in various health issues for local residents, including respiratory conditions and allergies.
Moreover, spills from these trucks can lead to soil and water contamination, further exacerbating environmental degradation and posing potential hazards to local ecosystems and human health. This is on top of the quarry's impacts on air quality and social disruption. All the more reasons why this quarry application should be denied.
Traffic Issues and Road Safety
Quarry trucks are typically large and heavy, requiring specialized skills to operate safely. Their presence on local roads, especially those not designed to handle such heavy vehicles (Reid Sideroad being one of those roads) can lead to traffic congestion and increased accident risks.
In addition, if one breaks down, it can inconvenience residents by blocking their exits onto Reid Sideroad. Or worse, preventing emergency services vehicles from responding to a fire or human injuries.
These trucks often carry heavy loads of rock, gravel, and other materials, which, if not properly secured, could result in hazardous road conditions. As we know, accidents happen, and those involving these vehicles can be particularly dangerous due to their size and the nature of their cargo.
Moreover, the constant traffic of quarry trucks can lead to accelerated road wear and tear, increasing maintenance costs for local governments and potentially leading to further traffic disruptions.
Another significant issue related to quarry truck operations is noise pollution. Due to their size and the nature of their loads, these vehicles generate considerable noise. This can be incredibly disruptive in residential areas, leading to potential health issues associated with prolonged exposure to high noise levels.
The question is, where are these trucks heading once they leave the quarry? The most logical route will be Highway 401, but with the consistent backups on the 401, they will stick to local roads. In addition to the interchange opening at Tremaine Road, they could head south through New Milton. The same residents in Town will be overwhelmed by the proposed traffic from CN Intermodal operations, and the quarry traffic will add more complexity.
All stakeholders, residents in local communities, regulatory bodies, and the government must work together to ensure this application does not proceed. We have an environmental assessment in place, and we are grateful to MPP Parm Gill for leading this process. However, the environmental assessment only begins if the applicant initiates it with their response. Until then, this is simply kicking the can down the road. The risks to all Milton residents, urban and rural, remain in place until this is resolved.