Power plant ma­te­ri­als to ar­rive via train

Loads to be de­liv­ered over next three months

The Enquire-Gazette - - Front Page - By MICHAEL SYKES II [email protected]­news.com

Ci­ti­zens in the Bene­dict area of Charles County who were con­cerned about a heavy haul to the Keys Power Plant in Brandy­wine im­pact­ing their prop­erty can breathe a sigh of re­lief.

Ac­cord­ing to state and county of­fi­cials, the heavy haul to move nearly 900,000 pounds of ma­te­ri­als out of Bene­dict up to the Prince Ge­orge’s County power plant has been can­celed.

The county was look­ing into the fea­si­bil­ity of the road­ways they were go­ing to use to move the haul, but a de­ci­sion on whether they would par­tic­i­pate was not

an­tic­i­pated un­til mid-Septem­ber.

Charles County Com­mis­sioner Ken Robin­son (D) said he has “no doubt” that the con­cerned ci­ti­zens who spoke out against the move had an ef­fect on the county’s de­ci­sion not to al­low the move to come through Bene­dict.

“The peo­ple of Bene­dict were un­ques­tion­ably heard,” Robin­son said.

The plan to take the haul through Bene­dict has been laid out as an “al­ter­na­tive plan B.” The new plan is to ship the equip­ment in to Aqua­land Ma­rina, ac­cord­ing to Char­lie Gis­chlar, a spokesman for the Mary­land State High­way Ad­min­is­tra­tion, and move it up to the Charles County Fair­grounds in La Plata.

Af­ter mov­ing it to the fair­grounds, the equip­ment will be placed by crane onto a CSX train where it will be moved to Prince Ge­orge’s County and taken to the Keys En­ergy Cen­ter.

“[The load] won’t be in Charles County for an in­cred­i­bly long time,” Gis­chlar said.

Over­all, Gis­chlar said, this route is bet­ter be­cause it re­moves seven miles of travel from the orig­i­nal route through Bene­dict and does not re­quire the state to re­move any traf­fic lights or sig­nage from the path.

Rather than be­ing in just late Septem­ber, the new route would in­clude 22 trips to move 22 com­po­nents all dur­ing night­time hours in Au­gust, Septem­ber and Oc­to­ber.

The moves’ dates will be sched­uled on Aug. 29 and 30, Sept. 6 and 7, and Oct. 17 and 18. This route will con­sist of state roads on U.S. 301 out­side of the use of the La Plata fair­grounds.

“It will pretty much be on the same path the Roll-Lift move is on,” Gis­chlar said.

Am­ber Wargo, a res­i­dent of Bene­dict who spear­headed the move­ment against the heavy haul, said the com­mu­nity is “very pleased” with the news of the move not com­ing through its neigh­bor­hood.

The con­cern was not wholly about prop­erty dam­age and dam­age to the neigh­bor­hood, which still were both con­cerns, Wargo said. But the ef­fect the move could have had on the en­vi­ron­ment was “con­cern­ing,” to her and the com­mu­nity as well.

“We’re ex­tremely pleased with the county’s de­ci­sion not to move for­ward on Bene­dict,” Wargo said. “We were con­cerned about our en­vi­ron­ment. Not just our prop­erty, but what could hap­pen to the area. So to see they’re mov­ing some­where else is a re­lief.”

Robin­son said the county’s ci­ti­zens likely played a ma­jor role in them de­cid­ing to move else­where with the haul and Wargo said she is happy to see they “fi­nally lis­tened” to their ci­ti­zens, es­pe­cially, she said, af­ter it ini­tially did not seem the county cared what the ci­ti­zens in Bene­dict were feel­ing. Wargo said the com­mu­nity meet­ing the county and the Lock­wood Broth­ers hosted ear­lier this sum­mer with the ci­ti­zens was not “very ef­fec­tive.”

But at the end of it all, she said, ev­ery­thing worked out and the ci­ti­zens were heard.

“That’s all we wanted,” Wargo said.

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