July 18, 2013
A North Carolina granite quarry has reopened its observation area nearly a year after safety concerns led quarry officials to close the area, according to The Mount Airy News.
Carlos Goad, vice president of human resources at North Carolina Granite Corp., said the decision to close the observation area was brought on when a 6-foot-high fence failed to keep observers out of what he called “an extremely unauthorized area.”
Goad said visitor were going around the fence, which separates the observation area from a steep drop-off. He said those actions posed a violation of federal and state safety regulations, as well as liability issues.
“On four different occasions we saw that happening and had to run out and get them back,” Goad said.
The Mount Airy quarry is a popular attraction for both tourists and natives who want to watch the quarry in action. When the observation area was closed last year, the quarry received negative feedback from the public and affected local tour companies that would normally bring visitors to the quarry.
The quarry’s observation area reopened to visitors on Monday. Goad said public request and safety improvements largely influenced the company’s decision to reopen the area.
“We have now put up an eight-foot fence with barbed wire around the top of it,” Goad said. “We listened to the voice of the public who were concerned and wanted a place (to view the quarry). So we gave in and think we made it much safer.”
The area also includes signage along the fence warning visitors to stay on the side of the observation area.
The observation area will be open every day from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.