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Which Way Will They Go?

Naval research base considers routes for trucks carrying hazardous waste and materials for construction.

What if they held a public meeting and the public didn’t come?

Some people attending a meeting about hazardous waste at Carderock Naval Surface Warfare Center on Dec. 16 sought to answer that question.

Some of the people in attendance were civilians not directly affiliated with the base, but they were members of the Restoration Advisory Board, a committee which is overseeing the cleanup of several contaminated sites.

The meeting was held to discuss the specifics of trucks coming to and from the base to cart off contaminated soil, and a separate construction project.

The soil removal generated little discussion. The project, estimated to cost $1.5 million, will open a temporary gate from the base onto the Clara Barton Parkway, near the on-ramp for the Beltway. “You are literally 50 yards from the split,” said Andrew Gutberlet, project manager for the removal, referring to the on ramp which allows traffic to go either into Maryland or Virginia on 495, “and they can go wherever they need to go.”

The soil, contaminated primarily with arsenic and PCBs, will be tested as it is removed and, depending on the level of contamination, will either be taken to a regular landfill, or to a hazardous waste landfill.

Gutberlet estimated that 1,200 cubic yards of soil need to be removed, and that it will take a total of 500 truck-loads to do it.

“Our plan is to group the trucks,” said Bill Spicer of the Center. There will be eight truck making three trips per day.

The Navy will make efforts to not have trucks entering or exiting during rush hours.

When the trucks go to the base, they will need only to make a right turn off the Clara Barton. Navy police will direct traffic when the trucks are leaving the base, which will require making a left on to the road.

Any damage the trucks do the newly re-paved road, which is not designed to handle such heavy loads, will be repaired by the Navy, Gutberlet said.

Gutberlet expects the project to be completed by early spring of 2004, weather permitting.

There are other contaminated areas which Gutberlet hopes to works toward cleaning up next year. “This time next year, I think we will be cleaned up,” he said.

While the trucks are removing soil, other trucks will be allowed to use the temporary gate near the Beltway as well. The base will constructing a new facility and upgrading security measures, and it will use the temporary gate for the removal of construction debris.

After the soil removal is complete, the base will have to revert to its standard construction entrance on MacArthur Boulevard.

The trucks will follow a route from MacArthur to Persimmon Tree Road, to Bradley Boulevard to River Road.

It was this traffic that concerned the civilian members of the Restoration Advisory Board who were present. “I’m bring up a concern I know I would have if I lived there,” said Dominique Rychlik.

Rychlik and Potomac resident Rudi Saenger pointed out that the construction route would take truck past both Carderock Springs Elementary and the Connelly School of the Holy Child.

The Center sent notices to both schools said Spicer. Neither school had a representative at the meeting.

“We’re going to work around school hours,” said Lt. Jason Picard, of the Center.

The newly constructed building will be no higher than existing structures, Gutberlet said.