Rhea County Roads and Coal Mines

Reported by: Brittany Shaw
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Updated: 7/27/2012 7:29 pm

It's been years since there has been a working coal mine in Rhea County.

But word is leaking out that they're coming back.

The question is whether the roads can handle a new coal operation on Dayton Mountain.

WDEF News 12's Brittany Shaw has the story.

Dayton Mayor Bob Vincent

<"The state probably will issue those permits but they're not willing or they're not at liberty to say when. ">

Permits... That would approve coal mining's return to Dayton Tennesse.

It's an emotional issue for Rhea County Residents.

Chanda Taylor, Resident

Rhea County officials and TDOT representatives are conducting studies that could pave the way for that return by looking into some existing issues with Highway 30 East.

<"We've been very concerned about what they're going to do with the roads in preparation for the coal mining. You only have one lane going down 30 so traffic is going to be backed up.">

Bob Vincent, Dayton Mayor <"My primary interest here is to make sure that when it comes off the mountain in an orderly fashion that it gets through Dayton with safety.">

Vincent says the existing problems with the road going up Dayton Mountain would escalate if and when Coal Mining is approved.

TDOT officials say County Executive George Thacker asked them to investigate what impacts the proposed mining operation could have on Rhea County Roads.

Steve Allen, Director of Project Planning TDOT

<"Currently we're looking at signing, pavement work and some improvements to state route thirty, and also looking at the intersection at state route thirty and 3-0-3 at upper cove road where the trucks would actually be exiting onto the roadway.">

Both Vincent and Allen say the improvements to the road probably won't be made until the project is approved...

<"After the permits are received we'll be working with the county to make sure we address those safety issues.">

Dayton residents say they're worried about the safety issues with both the roads... And the coal mining itself.

In Dayton, Brittany Shaw, WDEF News 12.

Taylor says she is concerned about the health of her family and says other Dayton Mountain Residents are too.

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