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Mountain people peeved at traffic

While an environmental group worries about B.C. Hydro’s trailblazing across rivers and streams, residents on Blue Mountain have more everyday concerns about the transmission line project going on in north Maple Ridge.

Truck traffic and the noise, dust and congestion that accompany them are bothering residents who live on McNutt Road, north of Dewdney Trunk Road, near 272nd Street.

“Now and again, we’ve got so many trucks going up and down,” said Lyn Thomas, who’s lived on McNutt Road for more than 20 years.

One day, she estimated 250 gravel trucks grinded up the mountain to Blue Mountain forest. After coming down the mountain again, that meant more than 500 trucks trips in a day. Then they started to go up the road in pairs, then in convoys of three or four. Two weeks ago, she said 20 trucks went up the road. Some days, the truck traffic is constant, and it’s chewing up the road.

Thomas said she’s complained twice to the District of Maple Ridge, but never heard back.

“The funny thing is, six to nine months ago, they were bringing out logging trucks.” Now, trucks seem to be hauling logs back up the mountain, she added.

Last week, the Alouette River Management Society and B.C. Hydro officials toured sites in the 248th Street area, where the transmission line was clearcut to the banks of local streams that flowed into the South Alouette River. The river group says clearing vegetation will hurt water and fish habitat, but Hydro has to clear to the edge of rivers to ensure there is clearance beneath the towers.

B.C. Hydro is twinning its Interior to Lower Mainland transmission line from Merritt to Coquitlam to meet increasing demand for power.

More than 600 steel transmission towers with an average height of 42.5 metres will be built for the Interior to Lower Mainland Transmission Line. A tower was put up near Merritt earlier this month.

B.C. Hydro spokesperson Simi Heer said she hadn’t heard any recent complaints from residents and urges people to contact them if they have any.

She doubted there would be as many as 250 trucks a day on McNutt Road, but said the vehicles could be from other activity on the mountain.

Maple Ridge staff are investigating.

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