Power plant materials to arrive via train
Loads to be delivered over next three months
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.