Mine Trucks’ Impact Talks Continue
Discussions continue between Marquette city and county officials, Northern Michigan University representatives and local state legislators regarding the impact of the proposed truck route for the Eagle Mine in Big Bay, which currently directs traffic through the Wright Street and Sugarloaf Avenue intersection on the NMU campus.
An estimated 100 trucks per day are expected to travel along the route when the mine begins full operation. NMU administrators have met with the various officials to discuss the safety of student traffic in that area, the noise levels to the residence halls and the impact on the physical campus. President David Haynes, Sen. Tom Casperson and Rep. John Kivela have been helping to identify the specific concerns of the university, city, county and mine, and to come up with a resolution to the traffic issue.
“My No. 1 concern is the safety and quality of life of our students,” said Haynes. “The good news is that we’re all still at the table working on this situation. The bad news is that it’s very complicated to meet the needs of so many different entities. NMU does not want any new traffic going through campus.”
About 2,300 students live in the eight Quad I and II residence halls located near Wright Street.
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality recently denied a request from the City of Marquette to amend the Eagle Mine permit to reduce the impact of truck traffic on city streets, including portions that traverse the NMU campus.
“Northern had no involvement in challenging the permit,” said Art Gischia (Finance and Administration). “But we had met with city, county and Marquette Township officials to talk about truck routing and traffic through campus. Our message was pretty clear that we’re concerned. That’s a very busy intersection at class change times and we’re concerned about student safety, not to mention quality-of-student-life issues. The city has stood with us in echoing those concerns and mentioned the intersection in its request.
The DEQ ruled the city falls outside the “affected area” of the Eagle Mine and its streets “are not affected by those operations per se.”