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Concrete plant eyed for I

Jan 11, 2024

An Indianapolis contractor wants to erect a temporary concrete mixer plant south of Interstate 70 just west of CR 200W in Hancock County to aid in the expressway's expansion over the next two to three years. The company wants to utilize land just north of I-70 as well.

HANCOCK COUNTY – An Indianapolis company working on the multi-year expansion of Interstate 70 through the county wants to erect a temporary concrete plant right off the expressway.

Milestone Contractors is eyeing property immediately north and south of I-70 totaling over 43 acres just west of CR 200W for the concrete mixer plant and stockpile areas. The facility would remain for the rest of the construction project, which consists of adding a third lane between Greenfield and Mt. Comfort and is expected to finish in the next two to three years.

First Milestone needs the county to rezone the proposed site from its agricultural designation to an industrial one, which would permit the plant if also supported by the Hancock County Board of Zoning Appeals.

The company says that the location would serve as an access point for construction vehicles to get in and out of the I-70 worksite, reducing the number of construction vehicles that would need to enter and exit the project limits via the interstate.

"Regardless of this site, this project's going to go on," Chad Scott, general superintendent for Milestone Contractors, told the Hancock County Area Plan Commission late last month. "This site allows us to be safer, more efficient by using I-70 as an access point. And if we didn't have it, then you got all that traffic that's going to be all over the area to get to this project."

A portable concrete mixer would be located on the property south of I-70 while material processing activities would occur on the north.

When the I-70 project completes, the plant would be removed and the land would be zoned back to agricultural or another designation officials would prefer.

The county plan commission voted unanimously to send the request to the Hancock County Board of Commissioners with a favorable recommendation.

Renee Oldham, a plan commission member, echoed Scott's point about the work needing to get done regardless of whether a concrete plant is near or far from the work area.

"You still need that ability to be as close to the project as possible to get it done quicker," Oldham told Milestone representatives. "So whether you’re disrupting people at (CR) 200 or disrupting people 3 miles down the road in Hancock County, somebody's going to be disrupted most likely because of this project. This is probably the least disruptive."

The plan commission's unanimous support came despite plan commission executive director Mike Dale's unfavorable position. Dale noted the county's comprehensive plan calls for future commercial uses for the area the site is located. He also pointed out that land surrounding the site is zoned agricultural and that changing the site to industrial would constitute a "spot rezoning."

Several attendees at the meeting expressed environmental concerns regarding soil, air and water, and called attention to the Heartland Resort campground just to the east of the site.

Bob Beyke, manager of environmental affairs for Milestone Contractors, said the plant would run on electricity and that the only chemicals onsite would be diesel fuel, which would be used in equipment. The diesel tanks would be double-walled, he continued, adding a spill prevention, control and countermeasure plan would be in place in accordance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Beyke also said that that plant would have an operating agreement with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management mandating how much, if any, air emissions would be allowed. Particulates would be controlled by a dust collection device called a baghouse, he said.

"There might be some fugitive emissions, but those are all limited by our operating agreement with IDEM," Beyke said.

The agreement would also limit the amount of concrete the plant could produce in a 12-month period to 300,000 cubic yards.

Milestone representatives said water would be tanked in to the site, the site would not have any wastewater and that it would have a stormwater permit for discharges. When material would be washed out of trucks, it would be allowed to dry into hardened concrete before removal.

Beyke and Scott said topsoil would be removed from the site before the plant starts and returned after.

"There should be really no difference than what it currently is," Beyke said of its farming viability after the site is restored.