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Tonya Papanikolas reportingIf you've driven along I-215 on the east side of the valley lately, you may have noticed a big tower off to the side of the freeway. It's a new, temporary concrete plant, and it has some residents and businesses upset.
Some people we talked to in the area of the Olympus Hills shopping center are fine with the plant and said it doesn't bother them, but others don't like the fact that they didn't know anything about it beforehand.
Those who live and work in the Olympus Hills area suddenly noticed something new on the horizon. Exercise therapist Anthony Baron Kirk, says, "I was looking outside, and it just suddenly popped up, this new, strange looking object out there."
The object is a concrete batch plant for the Department of Transportation. Starting in August, the plant will generate concrete that UDOT will haul to I-80 between State Street and 13th East. UDOT I-80 Project Manager John Montoya says, "We're widening the freeway there. When we're done with that section of highway there, we'll have five lanes in each direction."
UDOT owns the land and says it was the right place to produce the cement because of its proximity to the final project. But when the plant went up, people in the area say it was a huge surprise.
Larry Mathie, lives near the new cement plant. He says, "No one put any fliers in our mailboxes, no one knocked on our door and said, ‘We're gonna be noisy and ruin your vision of the mountains and capitol.'"
UDOT says it didn't notify residents there because workers won't be shutting down roads or restricting traffic. "We're not closing a lane, we hope not to produce a lot of noise and a lot of dust, so it's really not impacting them greatly," Montoya said.
But residents and businesses aren't convinced. Mathie says, "The dust factor since they started over there the last four days has been brutal."
And Kirk said, "I'm concerned. I'm concerned with what the traffic may be, if there's gonna be big cement trucks coming in and out."
The plant will be there for about two years. UDOT says equipment may be loud, but the plant itself won't be too noisy. Workers will mostly be out during the day, unless temperatures are really hot, then they'll work in the evening.
UDOT told us it's had a temporary plant in other residential areas and has received few complaints.