Vulcan Materials Co. plans to open a new quarry in western Lexington County as soon as mid-2017, company vice-president Roger Dunlap said Tuesday.
The revelation came after he outlined the design of the stone mine to County Council and nearby residents who are trying to stop the project.
Vulcan will proceed with the quarry on a 520-acre site midway between Batesburg-Leesville and Gilbert regardless of whether council members approve closing a narrow dirt road in the middle of the operation, he said.
Closing a section of Stutman Road will allow a new exit from the site that will lessen truck traffic on other roads in the area, he said.
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Doing that would be “much better for everyone concerned,” Dunlap said.
Some council members agreed that closing the road seems best even though quarry foes are pressing county leaders not to do anything that assists the project.
Closing the road seems “less invasive” for surrounding neighborhoods, Councilwoman Debbie Summers of Springdale said.
But leaders of a group opposed to the quarry said the road closing is an unsatisfactory gesture.
“I don’t think they’re going to be good neighbors,” said Lauren Warmuth, vice chairwoman of the Ridge Protection Coalition.
Homeowners near the site are upset with the prospect of dust, noise, tremors and traffic despite company promises to minimize nuisances.
The quarry will be surrounded by a 300-foot landscaped buffer to comply with new county guidelines, Dunlap said.
In addition, dirt moved during excavation won’t be piled any higher than nearby trees, he said.
Vulcan is opening the site as an eventual replacement for its 124-year-old quarry in the Olympia area near Columbia.
It will produce crushed stone used mainly in concrete and asphalt for residential and commercial development, company officials say.
State environmental officials must sign off on company plans, a review that hasn’t started yet.