CBJ mulls expanding gravel quarry

The city-owned Stabler’s Point Quarry is running out of rock.

“This year was a record year for the amount of rock,” CBJ public works director Rorie Watt said Monday. “There was an enormous amount of activity, an enormous amount of rock.”

Success has brought a problem. “At this point, especially with this summer’s efforts at Statter Harbor, we have mined to the outer limits of what was approved,” City and Borough of Juneau lands and resources manager Greg Chaney told members of the Juneau Assembly’s lands committee on Monday.

“2015 was so productive,” Chaney wrote in a memo dated Dec. 28, “that Stabler’s Point Quarry has extended to the limits of the area that was supposed to last until the year 2021.”

Speaking to the lands committee, Chaney outlined tentative plans for expanding the city-owned gravel quarry in Auke Bay. Those plans include seeking a new permit that includes a quarry footprint almost twice the size of the existing pit.

Where is the rock going? Into city and state projects across the borough.

In 2002, when the quarry began selling rock to contractors directly, CBJ documents stated that Stabler’s Point was the only quarry in the borough that was producing material with quality sufficient for state and federal construction contracts.

Bob Millard, at the time a CBJ engineering associate, suggested opening the quarry to contractors in order to open competition and cut costs. Before the quarry, contractors sometimes had to obtain quality rock from Washington state, then ship it to Juneau by barge, limiting supply and increasing cost.

Opening the quarry did exactly what was predicted.

“I really think that’s a huge benefit to the community,” Watt said.

Keeping the quarry going would require a bigger footprint.

Chaney said the CBJ may seek a permit that would allow excavation farther into the mountain, away from Glacier Highway. An alternative approach involves construction of a small haul road from the existing gravel pit to the inland end of an expanded quarry site. At that inland end, a second gravel pit could be started, allowing two contractors to work in the pit simultaneously.

In either case, expansion might require the removal of nearby cliffs, Chaney said. That could make the gravel quarry more visible to neighbors.

If the expansion takes place, according to Chaney’s memo, it would extend the life of the quarry through 2026.

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