Ap­pli­ca­tion for new heavy haul trans­port filed

Loads for Brandy­wine power plant could be com­ing through Bene­dict

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By MICHAEL SYKES II msykes@somd­news.com

Af­ter fail­ing to get the heavy equip­ment hauls needed for con­struc­tion at the Keyes Power Plant in Brandy­wine moved through Pine­field, an­other area in Charles County is be­ing con­sid­ered for the move.

Lock­wood Broth­ers Inc., a heavy lift and trans­port com­pany, filed an ap­pli­ca­tion with Charles County on June 2 to move the same heavy load of ma­te­ri­als through Bene­dict Vil­lage and on to Route 231 be­fore ul­ti­mately reach­ing Brandy­wine Road where the Keyes Power Plant site is lo­cated.

Bill Hen­der­son, a cit­i­zen liv­ing in Bene­dict Vil­lage where the load will ini­tially be­gin its jour­ney, said in­di­vid­u­als in Bene­dict do not want to see this come through their vil­lage and liv­ing space.

Just last week, when the per­mit was sub­mit­ted to the county, Hen­der­son said, the county sent out a let­ter stat­ing they re­ceived the per­mit and were look­ing into the route.

“There has been no of­fi­cial pub­lic hear­ing on this. Things were quiet and then they hit us with this,” Hen­der­son said. “We re­ally don’t want to see this hap­pen.”

The county seems to be try­ing to get the load through and into Prince Ge­orge’s County “one way or an­other,” Hen­der­son said.

Aside from a com­mu­nity pub­lic meet­ing where the ap­pli­cant, state of­fi­cials, county of­fi­cials in­clud­ing County Com­mis­sioner Ken Robin­son (D), and lo­cal res­i­dents dis­cussed the mat­ter, there had been no talk be­fore re­ceiv­ing the let­ter about the load com­ing through Bene­dict.

“The process for de­ter­min­ing the in­clu­sion of a pub­lic hear­ing de­pends on whether there are county or state law re­quire­ments for the par­tic­u­lar is­sue,” Charles County At­tor­ney Rhonda

Weaver told the In­de­pen­dent. “For ex­am­ple, with the

Com­pre­hen­sive Plan, there are re­quire­ments for a pub­lic hear­ing spec­i­fied in the law. There is no re­quire­ment in the law for a pub­lic hear­ing for the county’s heavy haul per­mit process.”

The route will start at Mill Creek Road in Bene­dict, move onto Route 231, move to Route 5 north­bound, turn on Gal­lant Green Road, move onto Woodville Road be­fore hit­ting Mal­colm Road.

Af­ter that, the load will move to Horse­head Road be­fore ul­ti­mately hit­ting its de­liv­ery point at Brandy­wine Road.

Robin­son said the county did meet with the com­mu­nity and he sat in on the meet­ing.

Not ev­ery­one in the ini­tial meet­ing was against the project, he said.

Orig­i­nally, the com­pany was go­ing to be forced to use U.S. 301 to move the load into Brandy­wine. How­ever, Robin­son said, the route would have been a “longer traf­fic tie up.” The ap­pli­cant sug­gested Bene­dict as a start­ing point, he said, and that prompted the meet­ing be­tween the county, state and com­mu­nity.

“What I told them was that this is not a done deal and they had to go through the per­mit­ting process,” Robin­son said. “This is pretty sig­nif­i­cant, and it’s not guar­an­teed that they’re go­ing to pass that process.”

The county’s roads depart­ment is cur­rently vet­ting the roads to en­sure they are sta­ble enough to hold the load.

Peter Alu­otto, the di­rec­tor of Plan­ning and Growth Man­age­ment for Charles County, said the re­view process is still on­go­ing for the county.

The cri­te­ria con­sid­ered for the ap­pli­ca­tion in­cludes, but is not lim­ited to, tem­po­rary land uses, pub­lic safety, en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pacts, in­fra­struc­ture im­pacts, traf­fic con­trol, util­ity, project time and du­ra­tion, Alu­otto said.

In­ter­gov­ern­men­tal co­or­di­na­tion is also im­por­tant, Alu­otto said.

“Per­mits must be ob­tained from both the State of Mary­land and Charles County,” Alu­otto said. “If granted, all per­mit con­di­tions must be strictly ad­hered to.”

Char­lie Gish­ler, a pub­lic in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer for the State High­way Ad­min­is­tra­tion, said Lock­wood Broth­ers Inc. and the state are work­ing on traf­fic plan­ning for the use of Route 231.

The load will weigh, at most, 900,000 pounds, Gis­chlar said. The state has found that Route 231, which is a two lane road, is suit­able for the move. A jump bridge would be added to the road­way to de­crease the po­ten­tial for dam­age to the road­ways.

“There will be a jump bridge as­so­ci­ated with the move,” Gis­chlar said. “We have helped ac­com­mo­date these types of loads with weights up to 1 mil­lion pounds and the roads were not dam­aged.”

Plus the road­way has very few turns, Gis­chlar said, which is a pos­i­tive when mov­ing such heavy loads.

Hen­der­son said many peo­ple in the com­mu­nity do not want their prop­erty and roads to be dam­aged, but Robin­son said not many peo­ple’s prop­erty is go­ing to be af­fected. And the com­pany has worked out deals with many peo­ple who could po­ten­tially be af­fected al­ready.

““Our big­gest con­cern is [whether] our county roads in Bene­dict [can] han­dle the weight. And that’s why we’re de­ter­min­ing it through the engi­neer­ing re­ports and per­mit­ting process,” Robin­son said.

The county is also re­quir­ing the ap­pli­cant to pro­vide in­sur­ance bonds to the county for any dam­age that may be done, Robin­son said.

Alu­otto said, as a gen­eral mat­ter, cit­i­zens can ex­press their con­cerns by con­tact­ing the Depart­ment of Plan­ning and Growth Man­age­ment.

If the project were to be ap­proved, Robin­son said, the process would be only on Mon­day through Thurs­day evenings from about 8 p.m. to 9 p.m in Bene­dict.

Dan Clark, a Lock­wood Broth­ers project man­ager for the haul, was con­tacted sev­eral times by phone for this story but did not re­spond to re­quests for com­ment.

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