State and Province News
To keep up to date with this breakdown of news in the United States and Canada, visit www.AggMan.com for daily updates.
According to the Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch, Vulcan Materials Co. announced that, based on preliminary results from its annual meeting, shareholders have re-elected the company’s entire slate of director nominees, including directors Phillip W. Farmer, H. Allen Franklin, Richard T. O’Brien, and Donald B. Rice. The meeting lasted approximately one hour.
Granite Construction Inc. joined the Sustainability Infrastructure Advisory Board at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design to help develop and promote a rating system to measure the sustainability of infrastructure projects nationwide. According to a company press release, the rating system will provide the operator’s customers and project teams with a method for evaluating the viability and longevity of sustainable infrastructure projects. “As infrastructure sustainability becomes increasingly important to cities, counties, and states, the need for project owners, designers, and contractors to implement a recognized system has risen to the forefront,” said Geoff Boraston, director of environmental affairs for Granite Construction. The company currently maintains one of the only infrastructure sustainability plans in the nation.
After years of battle pitting Sanger residents against a mining company, the Fresno Planning Commission voted against the proposed gravel mining project on Jesse Morrow Mountain, east of Sanger, CBS47.com reports. The planning commission voted 4 to 3 against the proposed sand and gravel mine. Cemex had sought permission to extract 1.5 million tons of aggregate material a year for up to 50 years. Cemex spokesman Sara Engdahl told the television reporter, “A lot of the accusations brought up against the project today were baseless and exaggerated, and we hope to be able to address those at the next step in the process.”
The wrong type of soil, used to construct berms around Tiller Corp.’s operation near Grantsburg, allowed fine sand sediment to seep into a wetland, a creek, and the St. Croix River. According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the leak has been stopped. Mike Caron, the company’s director of land-use affairs, said the soil should have had more clay and plasticity to prevent the issue. He said the berm has been reconstructed to do the job properly, and noted that only water and sand, not chemicals, had escaped the area.
The state Department of Transportation (DOT) recently widened the road bed, built erosion control for a pond, and paved a half-mile long gravel road leading to three houses near Pittsboro in rural Chatham County. The Charlotte Observer reports the project is part of the state DOT’s ongoing mission, launched in 1989 by the legislature and then-Gov. Jim Martin, to improve and pave every state-maintained dirt and gravel road in the state. Over the last two decades, the state has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to blacktop 13,000 miles of roads, bringing asphalt to the driveways of nearly 200,000 homes, the newspaper reports. Through the Highway Trust Fund Act, nine out of 10 unpaved miles have been blacktopped, however, the DOT has built only 78 percent of its planned four-lane intrastate highway systems and only 42 percent of the planned urban loops. The DOT’s average cost for paving gravel roads has increased from $250,000 per mile in 2007 to $350,000 today.
Environmentalists and park officials with the Theodore Roosevelt National Park South Unit are objecting to a potential gravel pit on the Elkhorn Ranch, The Dickinson Press reports. The Elkhorn Ranch was founded by Roosevelt in 1884 and was purchased by the Forest Service in 2006; however, all mineral rights were not obtained at that time. Peggy Braunberger, who, along with Roger Lothspeich, owns 27 percent of the mineral rights, submitted an operating plan to the Forest Service four years ago. The plan has been revised and field reviews have been conducted.
The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is hoping to generate millions of dollars in new money by launching a program that will permit advertising and sponsorship opportunities at interstate rest areas and welcome centers throughout Ohio. On May 21, the agency began seeking competitive bids for the Sponsorship, Maintenance, and Advertising Revenue Targeted (SMART) program. Money generated from the SMART program will help ODOT offset a portion of the $30 million to $50 million the agency spends each year to maintain the state’s 101 rest areas. “This new program will help do two things: reduce the amount of money ODOT spends on rest area maintenance, and generate new money we can use to pay for some of the major construction projects communities have told us they want,” said ODOT Director Jerry Wray in a press release. “Launching the SMART program demonstrates that ODOT is serious about thinking outside the box and seeking innovative and alternative funding sources to pay for road construction in Ohio.”
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