Designated Scenic Highway 83
Cost to the public Forest Service and private mining company due to potential law suits because of the highway safety issues:
The highway safety issue is very grave, for the state highway where the trucks hauling ore and chemicals will be on a scenic two-lane highway, near an urban area. The people who live in this region have to use this highway to Tucson to get groceries. The safety analysis by Rosemont would have stopped any decent corporation short. Nevertheless, since the notice for the highway accidents and death are known and publicly posted, the accidents will occur with “foresight,” so it would not be considered an “accident” in a law suit.
Mining Haul Truck on Scenic 83
There are frequent accidents on a straight six-lane highway due to dust from agiculture operations, so we cannot dare to imagine what will happen on a winding scenic highway:
The following is an excerpt from comments made to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality regarding the Rosemont Air Quality Permit, October 31, 2012 [Full comments]
From the Draft Environmental Impact Statement: Executive Summary, page xxv
Massive highway accidents from dust storms are prevalent in Arizona, most prevalent in Buckeye and Casa Grande, where the land has been leveled off and moonscaped by agricultural operations. Annually there is at least one major pile-up due to wind and dust, with fatalities and critical injuries.
The Rosemont DEIS states that there will be an increase in traffic accidents and deaths on SR 83 from the mining operations. Their 75 percent commuter carpool factor is simply unrealistic. It doesn't happen anywhere in U.S. and certainly not in Arizona . So we have to take the worst case scenario.
From Rosemont DEIS Public Health and Safety section:
Accidents increase from current 30 per year to 61 to 107 per year: Increase of 203% to 356%
Deaths from current rate of one fatality every three years increase to one to two fatalities per year: Increase of 300% to 600%
Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Rosemont Copper Project
Executive Summary, page xxv
Public Health and Safety
When combined with increases in traffic on State Route 83 resulting from population growth, the proposed action would result in traffic increases up to 10 to 88 percent during year 1 of the construction phase (under a 75 percent commuter carpool scenario), 128 to 290 percent during year 5 of the operation phase (no carpool scenario), and 204 to 356 percent by the end of mine life (no carpool scenario). A corresponding decrease in traffic safety would occur that may result in 61 to 107 accidents per year (from current rate of roughly 30 accidents per year), with a fatality occurring between one and two times per year (from a current rate of roughly one fatality every 3 years). By applying the mitigation measure of a partial carpool during the operation phase (75 percent of worker commutes in 5-person vans), the traffic increase from mine related traffic and population growth would be 67 to 135 percent at year 5 of operations and 137 to 201 percent during year 20 of operations. Direct impacts to public health and safety associated with traffic would remain after mitigation.
For more details on Arizona dust accidents: Arizona-Dust.htm