citizens of the Cedar Valley address the proposal for a coal burning power plant

Waterloo, Iowa

City Council meeting

May 7, 2007




c e d a r v a l l e y s p e a k s

Elk Run Energy (St. Louis, Missouri )/LS Power/Dynergy
Mark Milburn, Elk Run Energy Project Development Manager

“Transportation Issues”
Let me move on to transportation issues. That’s one of the questions we got frequently for the last year about the project related to rail traffic and truck traffic from the site and to the site. And, ah, as a result, Elk Run Energy hired Earth Tech to look at the various different transportation aspects to the site, and I’d like to introduce Bob Luntz of Earth Tech to come and share with you the scope of study that they performed on our behalf. And explain to you the conclusions that they….ah….they….ah…. identified. And then I’ll follow up with explaining that LS Power/Elk Run Energy is committed to implement the main recommendations that Earth Tech identified.

Bob Luntz
Thank you Mark. The transportation study that we conducted was intended to evaluate the level of traffic that would occur both during construction and the operational phase of the facility….and then to characterize its impact on the transportation system, during both of those phases, and as a result of that we did identify a number of mitigation measures that would help to accommodate that traffic. So I wanted to just briefly cover the high points of that study.

The construction phase as Mark mentioned earlier would be a four-year phase. The employment during that time would fluctuate quite widely bat at the maximum it would be expected up to 1200 employees, at the maximum amount. In addition there would be about 30 trucks per day that would be bringing materials to the site. The way that those employees especially would get to the site would disperse quite quickly onto the road system as they would travel back and forth to wherever they live at and that would go across the various areas of the metropolitan area.

The results we found is that Newell St. itself between Elk Run Road and the plant would need to be upgraded, and possibly temporary signals would be needed at the intersections between Newell and Elk Run Road but beyond that none of the other roads in the area would become overloaded due to this additional traffic.

Next we looked at the operations phase of the facility. During that time, throughout the entire operation of the plant, the employee traffic is estimated…as Mark mentioned at about 100 full-time employees; that level of traffic would be accommodated very easily on the road system. There would also be approximately 9 trucks per day that would be bringing materials to the site…and once again that would not overload any of the streets in the area.

The second aspect of the operations that we looked at was the disposal of the “combusion byproducts” which would require about 33 trucks per day to make the trip between the plants and the Southwater quarry that Mark had mentioned. To get between those 2 locations, we reviewed 9 possible routings of the traffic. The routings range from taking MLK down to Downtown, to taking Raymond Road on the East side, Elk run road was another option. We reviewed these routings, we looked at the road conditions along those routes…their ability to carry that traffic. We reviewed the routings with the County Engineering staff and as a result the recommended route for that traffic, .again 33 trucks per day would be to take a routing of Elk Run Road, Dubuque St., Evansdale Rd., down to Highway 20, then to proceed West on Highway 20 to Highway 21, and then take Highway 21 South to Eagle Road, and from there they would get to the Quarry.
The return traffic would be the reverse of that route, or possibly they would be taking Eagle Rd. along to Highway 218 and then going N. from there. Those are the routes recommended by the county engineer…and there would be no capacity problems on any of those routes, either they would primarily be using the highway system..

The last aspect of the operations phase is the delivery of the coal to the plant by rail. The estimated traffic there would be one unit train of coal coming into the plant every two days, and the empty train going back on the day in between. The coal trains are estimated to be 135 cars in length on the average, there would be some fluctuation I assume on that. And they could come into Waterloo by any of the three rail-lines that serve Waterloo today.

As a comparison on those tracks today that go through Waterloo, there would be anywhere between 2 trains per day and 8 trains per day on those tracks and that depends on which segment of the railroads that you’re looking at within the metropolitan area. The tracks in Wloo presently operate on a speed limit of 10 mph, and based on that running speed the coal trains would block crossings for approximately 9 minutes. And of course with that length of a train they would block several adjacent crossings simultaneously. (at least 18-72 minutes of blocked intersections/day)

To determine some of the impact of that and we interviewed a number of representatives of some of the key users of the road system. We talked to 9 people representing the police departments, fire departments in both Waterloo and Cedar Falls, emergency services, met transit and representative of the schoolbus scheduling. The results of that are covered with some detail in the report. The high points are that we found that the EMS and the fire rescue services are actually the most time critical in terms of their services…The fire stations in Wloo are located on both sides of the tracks, partially for that reason that there’s…for most areas of the community there is a fire station located on that side of the tracks that could serve those areas.

The Police dept generally would have cruisers that would be traveling about the community and generally be located in either side of the tracks, and could be called upon at any time. We found that the school bus scheduling is one that is time critical. They operate on a very tight schedule to students to and from school. And they do operate back to back routings with some of their buses, and so they are affected by delays when they encounter a train on the tracks today as they would by additional trains.
And finally, all of the road users as well as the nearby residents to the tracks would be affected by additional trains…They are affected by those trains today. Again, at the level of 2 to 8 trains per day so having one additional train per day would increase the effect on those other users and residents.

Those are the high points of what we found in the study. The mitigation measures that were reccommended, would be:

  • First to improve Newell St. between Elk Run Road and the proposed plant.
  • Second, that no construction truck traffic would be allowed on Newell to the West of Elk Run Rd.
  • Third, that the designated routes be used for hauling materials in both directions to the S. Waterloo quarry.
  • Fourth, that the train traffic coming to the plant would.use a routing that would not require a stopping or switching of trains so that they could stay as close as possible to that minimal time closure for crossings.
  • Fifth that the coal cars would be unloaded at the plant in an enclosed facility soas to minimize the amount of noise and dust emissions that could result from that.
  • Finally, that the outgoing trains could be controlled so that they would not be sent through the community during the peak travel periods of the day in the morning and the afternoon.
  • So that is the summary of the traffic study.

    Mark Milburn/LS Power: thanks Bob. And I’ll just close on that by saying that those mitigation measures that were identified in the study, Elk Run Energy is committed to implement all of those mitigation measures. And that’s reflected in the Development Agreement we proposed to the council that you’ll see later on today. One thing I will mention in one of the mitigation measures he mentioned was upgrading Newell ST from Elk Run Road to the plant site, and …in further consultation with the city and the county the company is committing to upgrade that road even further to Raymond Road…that’s about a two mile stretch that needs to be upgraded to fully support the project and the traffic related to the project.