In City of Winona planning commission looks at frac sand traffic impacts, Winona Daily News staff writer Mary Juhl reports:
City of Winona planning commission members examined truck, barge and rail traffic generated by frac sand operations Monday and heard presentations by representatives of the Minnesota and Wisconsin departments of transportation.
While city staff can calculate train and barge traffic — 10 trains and 24 barges shipping the aggregate monthly — the number of trucks hauling sand through the city is difficult to determine because it varies widely based on railcar storage capacity, availability of barges and cars, time of year and market value.
One issue should give Winonans pause:
David Christianson, a senior planner with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, discussed various traffic issues associated with frac sand shipping including air quality, the interstate bridge and Minnesota’s overall role in the industry.
“The Winona bridge is of concern,” Christianson said, explaining that the bridge is fracture-critical, or that some components of the bridge aren’t protected by redundancy in case of structural failures.
The bridge was closed in for a while for repairied 2008 when corroded gusset plates were found on the structure. A second bridge will be built in the Winona area area to add two more lanes across the Mississippi River, but construction won't begin until 2015.
Read the rest at the Winona Daily News. Freelancing for the Rochester Post Bulletin, Brian Todd reports in Crowd in St. Charles hears about Wisconsin man's experience with silica sand mine:
Another packed auditorium, another round of silica sand talk. Concerned Citizens of St. Charles hosted an information meeting Monday at St. Charles Elementary School.
What was planned as a panel discussion involving government officials from Winona County and St. Charles, concerned residents and representatives from Minnesota Proppant, formerly known as Farm2Rail, concerning a proposed multi-loop rail car loading facility in St. Charles Township turned into a presentation by Fred Harding of Maiden Rock, Wis., home to a silica sand mine, processing facility and rail yard.
Harding, who is part of an effort to bring more control over the facility in his hometown, showed a rough cut of a documentary on silica sand mining. He also shared his perspective as as someone who lives near a silica sand site.
“I can’t talk about Minnesota law or your specific proposal,” he said. “But I can talk about issues that are universal to sand mining.”
Those issues are water quality, truck and rail traffic, dust and noise. Read the rest of Todd's article in the Post Bulletin to learn what Harding said.
Photo: Aerial view of a Wisconsin silica sand mine.