Aggregate is a broad term used to describe sand, rocks, gravel, crushed stone and shale. Aggregate is a naturally occurring, non-renewable basic raw material used extensively in residential, commercial, industrial and public infrastructure construction.
Natural deposits of aggregate materials are limited and vary in quality and quantity of available material. Additionally, aggregate deposits located under existing development cannot be mined. When high-quality sites are identified, they must be mined prior to intensive surface development to prevent materials from becoming inaccessible.
More than 70% of the nation’s counties are home to an aggregate operation. A continued steady supply of locally available aggregate ensures that we will be able support local infrastructure needs and help the community grow.
Aggregate materials are building blocks of modern construction.
Building an average home requires 400 tons of aggregate. An average hospital requires 25,000 tons. One lane mile of interstate highway uses 38,000 tons of aggregate material. On average, every person in the United States uses more than 10 metric tons of aggregate, or approximately 22,000 pounds, annually.
Roads, bridges, driveways, sidewalks, patios, homes, office buildings, schools and community centers –about anything you can imagine – are built in part with aggregate materials. Without aggregate, construction and development would be virtually impossible.
Aggregate is a non-renewable resource. When a source of aggregate materials is depleted, new sources need to be identified and mined to meet construction and development needs. If a mining operation is not developed locally, aggregate materials will have to be hauled to Summit County from another site – one that could be a great distance away.
The farther materials need to be transported, the more expensive they become. This means any construction, from repaving a road to building schools and hospitals, will become more expensive. The cost will be shouldered by residents and businesses, either directly or through increased tax burdens. Long-distance transportation of aggregate materials also results in a larger carbon footprint, increased wear and tear on roads and increased truck traffic.
Peak Materials, acquired from Everist Materials, is a division of Kilgore Companies and a subsidiary of Summit Materials, a Colorado company. We have been operating in Colorado’s Lower Blue Valley since 1965. Currently, Peak Materials operates the Maryland Creek Ranch facility just north of Silverthorne, where we support 78 full- and part-time jobs, including 45 direct jobs and 33 secondary jobs.
Summit Materials is focused on combining a modern business approach and entrepreneurial vision with the experience and wisdom of a traditional construction materials company. We believe that construction materials companies should partner with local communities to solve infrastructure needs and help the community grow. Our companies are deeply rooted in their communities and dedicated to being responsible stewards of the environment. For more details about our sustainability program, please see our website: https://summit-materials.com/sustainability/.
Peak Materials, acquired from Everist Materials, has been doing business in Summit County since 1965. We have been involved in the community in a variety of ways including supporting the Middle Park Junior Livestock Sale, the Dillon Valley Elementary Halloween Carnival, and the High Country Conservation Center; participating in local parades; doing our part to keep the local community clean and vibrant by participating in an annual highway clean-up event along Highway 9; and donating materials for construction of the Silverthorne Elementary School playground. In addition, materials produced by Peak Materials have been used to construct important projects in the community including the Dillon Dam, St. Anthony’s Medical Center, and the Eisenhower and Johnson Tunnels. Photos of many of the projects that our products have made possible are provided on the Project Benefits page of our website.
Peak Materials, as a subsidiary of Summit Materials, is very proud of our sustainability accomplishments that benefit the communities where we operate. As a company, we are dedicated to being responsible stewards of the environment. Knowing pollinators are a critical component to ecosystems, we use native seeds and wildflowers in our restoration work. We are also a member of the Wildlife Habitat Council. Conserving Peak Ranch Resource as open space in perpetuity for use by wildlife after we finish our mining will help us achieve our Wildlife Habitat Council Program Goals.
Finally, we take the protection of the environment seriously. We use an Environmental Management System (EMS) to efficiently and effectively manage our environmental matters. This encompasses compliance, permitting, and ensuring that at a minimum, we are working hard to provide the organizational structure to meet the environmental expectations of our many regulatory agencies and the community at large.
Maryland Creek Ranch (MCR) is currently Summit County’s primary source of aggregate material. Peak Materials had an independent geologic consultant evaluate the remaining resource on the MCR property. Based on the report findings, about 6.8 million tons of material remain at MCR; however, not all of this material can be mined. Approximately 2.5 million tons of this material is in an area not permitted for mining due to the presence of wetlands (Cell 7) and about 2.7 million tons cannot be accessed because it is under the existing plant site equipment used to process the material (Cell 6). Therefore, the only remaining accessible material to mine from MCR is approximately 1.6 million tons of material located in Cell 5 of the site. This material will take about 4-5 more years to mine.
Peak Materials must permit a new aggregate source to continue to meet Summit County’s need for a local, cost-effective supplier of aggregates, ready-mix concrete, and asphalt. After extensive evaluation, it has been determined that the Peak Ranch Resource site best meets Summit County’s needs while minimizing impacts on the Summit County community. More information regarding why the Peak Ranch Resource site was selected can be found in the Site Evaluation Report found in the Document Library of this website.
Peak Materials looked at many potential aggregate resource sites in Summit County and we found that the Peak Ranch Resource site is the most appropriate location to mine. The primary reasons for this included:
- Quality of Reserve. Peak Materials can only mine in locations containing aggregate. The Peak Ranch Resource site contains an alluvial resource, which is a high-quality aggregate deposit that can be readily extracted and reclaimed while minimizing overall land disturbance. Peak Materials will only need to disturb 54 acres of the Peak Ranch Resource site to access approximately 10 years of quality aggregate. This is compared to a glacial till deposit which is located on a mountainside rather than in a stream valley. Glacial till deposits require up to three times the land disturbance to get the same amount of aggregate as an alluvial resource deposit can provide.
- Reclamation. Because it is an alluvial resource site, the Peak Ranch Resource can be mined and reclaimed relatively quickly, without creating a long-term scar on the landscape.
- Proximity to Maryland Creek Ranch. The site’s location close to Maryland Creek Ranch allows Peak Materials to control the cost of the material for Summit County customers and minimize impacts on our roads and communities. In doing this, we are able to effectively minimize impacts on a majority of the residents of our County.
- Transportation-Related Concerns. Because the site is close to Maryland Creek Ranch and has direct access to Highway 9, Peak Materials can avoid travel on local roads near residential neighborhoods and through urbanized areas like Silverthorne, Frisco and Breckenridge; minimize transport time and vehicle miles traveled; and limit traffic congestion, road damage, dust and vehicle emissions.
- Wildlife. The best wildlife habitat area on the site is along the Blue River, which we will not mine. The land that will be mined and ultimately reclaimed is not quality wildlife habitat because it has been overgrazed by livestock and is bisected by livestock fences. The reclamation plan for the site involves creating an open water pond surrounded by native vegetation. The reclaimed property will provide much better wildlife habitat opportunities than currently exist.
- Minimizing Visual Impacts. According to the Lower Blue Master Plan Visibility Map, the Peak Ranch Resource site is not very visible. In addition, because we will mine this site by digging a hole in the ground to extract the alluvial resource, the short and long-term visual impacts will be minimal. Moreover, we will utilize screening berms and trees and, as the site is mined, we will implement a congruent mining and reclamation process that will allow us to reclaim and revegetate disturbed land concurrent with the ongoing mining activity to minimize the amount of disturbed land existing at any one time.
Peak Materials is not pursuing a permit to mine this material because:
- We want to minimize miles traveled to deliver material to Maryland Creek Ranch (MCR). From MCR, this site is about three times as far as Peak Ranch Resource; plus, the travel through urbanized areas from this site to MCR would often cause travel time delays. The more time spent on the road, the higher the cost of the materials to our local customers.
- We want to minimize impacts on County residents. If material was to come from this site, aggregate trucks would travel through Breckenridge, Frisco, and Silverthorne to get to MCR. Mining Peak Ranch Resource will affect significantly fewer residents of our County.
- We have tested and determined that the material at this site is not suitable for use in making asphalt and concrete due to the presence of shale in the deposit.
Peak Ranch Resource will be reclaimed to an open water pond surrounded by native vegetation that will be preserved in perpetuity as open space. The open water pond will be supplied by and operated under a permanent plan for augmentation with all the necessary Water Court approvals.
The best wildlife habitat area on the site is along the Blue River, which we aren’t proposing to mine. The land that will be mined and ultimately reclaimed on the site is not quality wildlife habitat because it has been overgrazed by livestock and is bisected by livestock fences. The reclamation plan for the site involves creating an open water pond surrounded by native vegetation. The reclaimed property will provide much better wildlife habitat opportunities than currently exist.
We have been consulting with the Colorado Department of Parks and Wildlife (CPW) on our proposal. They’ve recommended that we not have trucking at dawn and dusk to minimize the chance of trucks encountering wildlife on State Highway 9. We are working to develop an operations plan in line with CPW’s recommendation.
State Highway 9 is an existing source of noise in the area. Peak Materials is working with an environmental acoustics engineer to understand the existing noise conditions and identify ways to build in effective noise buffers to maintain compliance with the County’s noise level regulations.
The site will generate minimal additional noise as no materials processing will occur at Peak Ranch Resource. The noise study will be incorporated into our Conditional Use Permit application that we submit to Summit County. Once submitted, that study will be available on the Document Library page of this website.
The importance of the protection of scenic views was factored in when selecting the Peak Ranch Resource site and in establishing our plan to mine the site.
The Peak Ranch Resource site is not very visible, as demonstrated by the Lower Blue Master Plan Visibility Map. Because we will mine this site by digging a hole in the ground to extract the material, the visual impacts will be minimal as compared to a site that needs to be mined by cutting into the side of a mountain.
In making plans to mine the site, we will begin by building landscaped screening berms and planting trees in key locations along the site’s perimeter. As the site is mined, we will implement a congruent mining and reclamation process that will allow us to reclaim and revegetate disturbed land concurrent with the ongoing mining activity to minimize the amount of disturbed land existing at any one time.
In addition, Peak Materials will not process any aggregate materials at this site. As a result, the site will not contain any processing-related buildings or equipment which will further minimize visual impacts.
We are preparing visual simulations to help everyone better understand what the site will look like during and after mining. When finished, the visual simulations will be posted on this website.
It is not true. Dewatering associated with mining is what can lead to this potential problem, in some situations. Dewatering is when mine operators pump groundwater out of a mining cell to allow excavation equipment to operate in a dry condition. Dewatering will not take place at Peak Ranch Resource.
Peak Materials will utilize a wet mining method once groundwater is exposed (during the second phase of mining activities). The wet mining method does not dewater the mining cell. Instead, excavation equipment removes sand and gravel within the water table. The material will be pulled out wet and set on the edge of the mining cell area to allow the water to seep back into the ground before the material is loaded onto trucks to be taken to Maryland Creek Ranch.
In addition, all water used at Peak Ranch Resource (for dust control purposes and associated with evaporation) will be fully replaced pursuant to a Substitute Water Supply Plan approved by the Colorado Division of Water Resources, or a plan for augmentation approved by the Water Court.
It is not true. The process of mining aggregates does not involve the use of chemicals or any hazardous substances. Standard equipment will be used to mechanically move or remove aggregates from the site.
We do not anticipate any groundwater contamination issues as a result of the mining operation; notwithstanding this, Peak Materials has already implemented a groundwater monitoring program. We installed several monitoring wells on-site in areas up-gradient and down-gradient of the proposed mining area. These wells have been and will continue to be sampled periodically throughout the year. The results of our pre-mining samples will represent a baseline of water quality. Samples taken during mining operations will be regularly compared to the baseline water quality data to monitor any water quality changes and help ensure that no negative changes in groundwater quality have occurred as a result of activities at the site.
It is not true. The process of mining aggregates does not involve the use of chemicals or any hazardous substances. Standard equipment will be used to mechanically move or remove aggregates from the site.
The mine is substantially set back from the Blue River which will prevent sediment releases to the river. In addition, the mining operation at Peak Ranch Resource is designed so that all stormwater that contacts disturbed areas will flow into the mining cell, rather than to the river
We are confident that the proposed operation will not impact the water quality of the Blue River. Notwithstanding, as an extra safeguard, Peak Materials implemented a water quality monitoring program that includes sampling stations on the Blue River at the upstream and downstream ends of the property. These monitoring points have been and will continue to be regularly sampled during operations. The pre-mining samples will serve as a baseline for water quality and any changes detected during mining will be investigated and appropriately addressed.
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has granted a State Highway Access Permit for the Peak Ranch Resource Project allowing up to 222 one-way trips per day. This accommodates 70 to 105 daily round trips by trucks hauling aggregate to Maryland Creek Ranch and 6 passenger vehicles (Peak Materials employees). The operations plan for Peak Ranch Resource has been designed to minimize potential for project-related traffic congestion and wildlife conflicts on State Highway 9. Accordingly, the 70 – 105 daily roundtrips made by trucks hauling aggregate:
- will be disbursed throughout the middle of the day;
- will not occur during morning and evening times when commuters are driving to and from work or during dawn and dusk hours when wildlife is most active;
- will not occur on weekends when traffic numbers are higher due to tourism traffic;
- will not occur during the winter season;
- will occur only on State Highway 9 and not on local roads or through urbanized areas like Silverthorne, Frisco or Breckenridge; and
- will substantially reduce transport time, vehicle miles traveled, and associated air emissions and noise as compared to the alternative of importing material required by the County from a location farther away.
In addition, consistent with the CDOT access permit’s associated requirements for the Notice to Proceed, Peak Materials will design and construct the following turn lane improvements at State Highway 9 and the Peak Ranch Resource access point:
- A right turn acceleration lane on State Highway 9 for trucks leaving the site to go south to Maryland Creek Ranch.
- A left turn deceleration lane on State Highway 9 for trucks coming north to the site from Maryland Creek Ranch.
CDOT also issued a new State Highway Access Permit for the Maryland Creek Ranch facility. The new permit accommodates the trucks coming and going from the Peak Ranch Resource facility. To comply with the conditions of the access permit, Peak Materials will construct a left turn acceleration lane on State Highway 9 to accommodate vehicles leaving Maryland Creek Ranch and heading north toward Peak Ranch Resource.
Peak Ranch Resource will not operate year-round due to weather restrictions. In general, we anticipate the site will be operational from about the middle of March until around the middle of December and closed through the winter.
Activity at Peak Ranch Resource is planned to occur Monday through Friday, no earlier than 7:00 AM and no later than 7:00 PM. Trucking hours from Peak Ranch Resource to Maryland Creek Ranch will be further limited to avoid dawn and dusk hours when wildlife is most active, consistent with a Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife (CPW) recommendation. In addition to protecting wildlife, keeping the trucks off the road during these times also benefits the community by eliminating truck traffic during morning and evening commute hours.
Based on Peak Materials’ analysis of market demand, we estimate it will take about 10 years to physically extract all of the mineable material from this site. However, there is work that needs to happen before and after mining. Before we begin to mine, we will need to construct a safe access into the site and establish our proposed screening (earthen berms and trees). After mining, it takes time to ensure all vegetation is properly established so the State can deem reclamation complete and release the site from its oversight. Therefore, the total number of years that we could have some activity at this site is estimated to be up to 15 years.
There are two distinct areas on the Peak Ranch Resource property. There is the riparian area along the Blue River, which will not be disturbed, and an area on a plateau above the river that was previously used for livestock grazing. We are taking steps to stay out of this established riparian area, protect water quality, and minimize impacts on wildlife.
We plan to mine the plateau area, which has been overgrazed by livestock and is bisected by a series of livestock fences. This portion of the property does not currently provide quality wildlife habitat.
We are developing plans to reclaim the site with an open water pond that will be surrounded by healthy, native vegetation. The reclaimed site will be a clear improvement over the property’s current condition and, following mining, we intend to preserve the land as open space in perpetuity.
The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is the governing agency responsible for overseeing and maintaining State Highway 9 and managing impacts to the highway caused by proposed new land uses. CDOT decided for safety reasons (to reduce the chance of potential accidents), to require the Peak Ranch Resource site access to align with Elk Run Road.
Peak Materials’ traffic engineering consultant prepared a traffic study to understand the projected traffic impacts that will result from the Peak Ranch Resource project. The traffic study included addressing the increase in truck trips at the Maryland Creek Ranch access resulting from Peak Materials’ trucks delivering loads of aggregate. The traffic study recommended improvements to State Highway 9 that will mitigate the impacts of additional traffic and protect the Level of Service (LOS) of the two intersections that CDOT required the traffic engineer to study: 1) State Highway 9 and the access to Peak Ranch Resource/Elk Run Road and 2) State Highway 9 and the access to Maryland Creek Ranch.
In December 2020, Peak Materials applied to CDOT for State Highway Access Permits for both Peak Ranch Resource and Maryland Creek Ranch and in January 2021, CDOT issued the two permits. The permits include the requirement to construct turn lane improvements at the two intersections (see the response to Question 16 for more details). The turn lane improvements are being provided to mitigate the impact of trucks turning in and out of the two access intersections. .
Upon being hired, all of Peak Materials’ drivers complete a comprehensive driver training program through a company called Smith System (www.drivedifferent.com). In addition, drivers are required to complete an annual refresher course. All of our trucks are equipped with a Samsara safety system (www.samsara.com/safety) that monitors “events” (speed, abrupt stops, and any erratic movements). The system also uses a forward facing camera and a camera on the driver. The system will send us a notice when any “event” has occurred. We then use the information gathered by the Samsara system to understand the “event”. We are able to determine what our driver did wrong or absolve our drivers if the other driver is responsible for the “event”. Any time our driver is at fault for an event, we take steps to coach the driver or take other action, depending on the circumstances.
The State requires all loads to be covered with a tarp to prevent materials from falling out during transport.
Peak Materials, acquired from Everist Materials, has been doing business in Summit County since 1965. Our presence benefits the County’s economy and the environment. Not only does Peak Materials provide jobs, economic output, and tax revenue for the County, the materials produced by Peak Materials are used to support the construction and maintenance of local roads, infrastructure, homes, and businesses. If this material is not produced locally, it will need to be imported which would result in significant negative impacts including the creation of a larger carbon footprint, increased road congestion, and increased transportation costs that would be passed along to the Summit County customers. The Peak Ranch Resource site was selected because it will have the least impact on most Summit County residents.
An economic report is being prepared for the Peak Ranch Resource project. Upon completion, the report will be submitted to Summit County and made available on the Document Library page of our website.
Peak Materials is moving forward with obtaining a permit from the DRMS because the County has indicated that we need that permit before we can submit a Conditional Use Permit application.