County Board paves way for Cronus roadwork

By Kayleigh Rahn
It’s no secret the preparation work on the proposed fertilizer plant west of town has taken time. However, throughout the more than three years since Cronus Chemicals executives and state leaders announced the plant’s location on the Tuscola Township road–known locally as Hog Market Road, work to coordinate the project’s many moving pieces hasn’t stopped.

One of the coordinators working to push the project off the ground is Douglas County Engineer Jim Crane who is spearheading the county’s responsibility for roadway improvements surrounding the plant site.

During its Wednesday, Dec. 20 meeting, the Douglas County board approved two items that will allow county contractor Chastain & Associates, of Decatur, to proceed with planning work contingent upon the certification of the contract between Cronus and proposed EPC contractor Thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions. The board-approved items included an appropriation of an additional $503,500 for roadway engineering and design fees that pushed the total price tag for road design fees to $1,273,570. The EPC contract is expected to be executed within the month.

The additional allocation approved by the county board Wednesday will allow road improvement Phases I and II (environmental and design) to be completed before going into Phase III (construction), Crane said. And if the roads planning and environmental work is completed by March, the project could be included in the state’s August letting project list. That would allow roadwork to begin in fall 2018 with the bulk of work to begin in spring 2019.

“We needed another appropriation to finish the work, so it was decided–so that we aren’t behind the eight ball so much–to take what we need to finish and execute the agreements contingent on the final contract being signed by Thyssenkrupp and Cronus,” Crane explained. “If that happened within the next month at least then we could start going forward on finishing up the engineering piece–getting everything ready to go.”

The full story can be found in the Wednesday, Dec. 27 edition of The Tuscola Journal.

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