The 11 mile Quitchupah Creek Road construction project linking State Route 10 to SUFCO Mine in Sevier County will be a huge undertaking and has the men and women of the Huntington-based construction company excited for the challenges that will come with blazing a trail through rugged terrain.
The Sevier County Special Service District #1 project was conceived more than a decade ago as a shorter route for coal truck traffic from SUFCO Mine to access the power plants in Emery County. Coal trucks currently travel along Acord Lakes Road, down Interstate 70 and then up SR-10 to the plants in a six day a week train of trucks on the roadway. The Quitchupah Creek Road will cut the distance traveled by nearly 50 miles each way for the coal trucks, as well as for many of the coal miners who live in the Emery and Carbon county areas. The road will be open to public access when completed.
The $25.2 million project is scheduled to begin in April with a completion date set for August of 2013.
To create the two-lane roadway construction crews will excavate 1,150,000 yards of earth and 400,000 tons of rock, roughly the equivalent of moving a mountain one-half mile squared.
"That's what we do," said Mark Greenhalgh, vice president of operations for Nielson Construction, who will serve as Quitchupah Creek Road project manager. Hugh Christiansen will be the construction manager on the project.
For the Quitchupah Road, Nielson Construction plans to devote as many as 80 employees to the project for the next year and a half and as many as 35 pieces of heavy equipment will be blazing a trail for the road. It is a prospect that proves to be a unique challenge that puts smiles on the faces of heavy equipment operators. "This is 11 miles of new road across basically virgin country. This doesn't happen much anymore," Greenhalgh said.
Access is the key to the entire project and to gain access the construction company must first deal with a major obstacle at Water Hollow, which will require a double 14 foot diameter pipe and 100 feet worth of fill to be able to span.
Work crews will initially excavate the roadway from both the SR-10 side and the SUFCO side, but Greenhalgh indicated that most of the road excavation will be accomplished from the mine site as they build the road toward SR-10.
The project, in addition to an already large backlog of work on the books, will make for the busiest year in Nielson Construction's history, according to Wayne Nielson, company president.