State and Province News May 2012
To keep up to date with this breakdown of news in the United States and Canada, visit www.AggMan.com for daily updates.
By Therese Dunphy, Editor-in-Chief
The Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department selected the winning bids on $92.3 million in road projects, including a $32.2 million bid for a section of the planned 38-mile highway that will eventually connect Interstate 530 around Pine Bluff with the proposed I-69 in the southeastern part of the state. Graves and Associates of Pine Bluff won that award. Martin Marietta Materials’ Hot Springs site was awarded a $10 million bid to surface I-30 from the Sevier Street exit to U.S. 70 southwest of Benton.
Don Roland, business manager for Graniterock’s Aggregate Division, was voted by the Santa Cruz City Council to serve on the Transportation and Public Works Commission. The commission advises the city council in formulating and implementing policy which includes planning, design, installation, and maintenance of public works and transportation projects. According to a company press release, Roland will serve a four-year term. He has been with the company for 15 years and served in roles ranging from accounting to computer technology to operations. He has a bachelor’s degree in business management economics from the University of California Santa Cruz.
Cemex’s original deadline for negotiations over its mining project in Soledad Canyon has passed, but it continues discussions with area officials on an alternate proposal. According to The Signal, Sen. Barbara Boxer introduced a bill that would direct the federal government to sell 10,000 acres of federally owned land outside Victorville and use a portion of the proceeds to buy back contracts the Bureau of Land Management granted to Cemex more than 20 years ago. “Cemex continues to fully support the Boxer legislation and has participated in ongoing discussions with the city throughout this process,” Cemex spokesman Sara Engdahl told the newspaper. “Cemex is committed to keeping the lines of communication open with the city in hopes of finding a mutual beneficial solution.” While the company, the community, and environmental groups such as the Sierra Club want the bill passed, it has not yet been able to make it through the Congressional quagmire for a vote.
Aggregate Industries US, a Holcim Group Co., announced that AIUS West Region (WR), formerly the West Central Region, received The Colorado Contractors Association’s top Traveling Safety Trophy for the second time in five years. The business unit was honored for zero lost-time incidents and zero recordable incidents at the association’s annual awards breakfast. “Receiving the Traveling Safety Trophy twice in five years is a great honor,” said Bernard Terver, president and CEO of AIUS WR. “I want to thank everyone in the contracting and aggregates division for their exemplary safety performance. Aggregate Industries takes great care that our employees safely return to their families after each and every shift, and this recognition is a wonderful validation of those efforts.”
Indian River County’s plan to replenish the 6.6 miles of beach using sand mined from an inland site took longer and cost more than using sand dredged from the ocean. According to the Press Journal, the increased time and expense were largely attributed to federal agencies imposing more regulatory measures on the project, which created about 50 local jobs. The quality of the sand, however, turned out better than the offshore variety, one town councilman told the newspaper. The project is being financed through a 1-cent sales tax, a tourist tax, and a $4.7 million grant.
The state Land Board unanimously agreed to renew a five-year lease for Kaschmitter Enterprises Inc. to remove gravel from a dry area of the Salmon River riverbed. The Lewiston Morning Tribune reports the lease and permit were first granted in 1955 and have been renewed in five-year intervals. This year, environmentalists and outdoor enthusiasts urged the board to delay the approval and require more environmental impact studies. The Idaho Department of State Land recommended renewing the lease. The mineral programs manager for the agency noted there was no data submitted during the public comment period that showed adverse effects from the operation on either the streambed or recreational values. Mining takes place during a two-week period each winter, long after recreational and fishing seasons have ended.
The Dartmouth site of a former sand and gravel operation may become home to one of the largest solar panel farms in the state, according to The Standard-Times. No Fossil Fuel Dartmouth Solar, LLC plans to construct a 21,000-panel, six-megawatt facility on the site. If constructed, it is estimated to generate enough power for 6,000 homes. Construction of the project is expected to take four months. The owner of the solar company filed her application for “by-right” construction, which doesn’t require site-plan review or public hearing, shortly before a town meeting set to amend a town bylaw which doesn’t require further scrutiny of large-scale solar installations. Previous smaller installations drew the wrath of residents and sparked the town meeting.