Granite Falls mine wants to operate at night to supply Boeing work

GRANITE FALLS — A mining company wants permission for some nighttime operations at a Mountain Loop Highway quarry to supply the construction of Boeing’s 777X wing facility in Everett.

As is, Aggregates West is allowed to operate Green Mountain Mine from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday. If Snohomish County grants the request, the company would be able to run trucks before 6 a.m. and after 6 p.m. through the end of the year.

“We’re supplying the contractor on site doing the work for Boeing,” Aggregates general manager Chris Hatch said. “We were asked to provide some flexibility with regard to our operating hours and we’re accommodating them to the extent that we can.”

The request is an early sign of the nearly two-year construction project about to get under way at the Boeing Co.’s Everett site. Plans call for breaking ground this fall on a 1.3-million-square-foot facility for fabricating 777X composite wings.

Under special circumstances, Snohomish County’s hearing examiner has the authority to temporarily relax operating hours for mines. A hearing on the proposed change has been scheduled for Sept. 3 at 11 a.m.

In a letter to the county, Hatch notes that the 777X facility is a “project of statewide significance” and that the county has an ongoing agreement to prioritize aerospace permits.

The change would apply to loading, weighing and hauling, but not to other activities, Hatch said. Aggregates West promised to notify county officials when it no longer needs to operate during expanded hours.

The quarry lies about six miles northeast of Granite Falls on the Mountain Loop. It’s next to timberland where off-road motorcyclists have been trying for years to get approval to build racetracks.

The mine received its county permit in 1999. The owner is Green Mountain Mine Operating Co. For the past few years, Aggregates West of Sumas, British Columbia, has been operating it.

The county prohibits Green Mountain Mine from operating after dark. There’s a maximum of 92 car and truck trips allowed per day.

The county permit allows Granite Falls to collect 5 cents per ton of material hauled out. The money helps the city pay back its $6 million share of the Granite Falls Alternate Route, which opened in 2010 to divert heavy truck traffic from downtown.

The Green Mountain Mine supplies aggregate, which can include crushed rock, gravel and sand. Those materials can be used to make concrete and asphalt.

In May, contractors for the Boeing Co. started preparing to demolish buildings at the company’s Everett site to make space for a massive 777X facility north of Boeing’s main Everett plant. The new structure will house three giant autoclaves for heating composite material used in the wide-body jet’s 114-foot-long wings.

Demolition is in its early phases with contractors moving employees out of the buildings that are to be torn down, said Terrance Scott, a Boeing spokesman.

The company intends to break ground on the wing facility some time this fall and have it ready for occupancy in May 2016, Scott said.

Boeing’s plans include a second, 350,000-square-foot structure east of the main assembly building for making the 777X fuselage.

Noah Haglund: 425-339-3465; nhaglund@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @NWhaglund.

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