Tue | May 21, 2019

Alcar asphalt plant on hold - Public consultations on enviro impact set for February 12

Published:Wednesday | January 30, 2019 | 12:10 AM
Workmen attached to Alcar Construction clear a canal in Portmore in this 2006 photo. Alcar has developed and tested a new asphalt plant at Bull Bay, but needs final sign-off from planning regulators to start production.

Alcar Construction and Haulage Limited has set up a US$300,000 asphalt plant, hoping to supply paving material for the planned Southern Coastal Highway.

Alcar is positioning for subcontracting work on the road project that is headed by China Harbour Engineering Company, CHEC, a developer that Alcar has worked with in the past, according to director Junior Leslie.

“They will be working from Harbour View to Yallahs and will require local contractors, and so we have positioned ourselves for such work,” said Leslie on Tuesday.

The full Southern Coastal Highway Improvement Project will rehabilitate about 110 kilometres of roadway between Harbour View in east Kingston and Port Antonio in Portland.

Alcar Construction, which is based in Bull Bay, St Andrew, set up the asphalt plant on about five acres of land at a site that used to house a block factory and heavy equipment. It has the capacity to produce 100 tons per hour, using a 7.5 horse power motor belt conveyor system, and 10,000 gallons of storage capacity.

Leslie thinks that there might be as many of as asphalt plants across Jamaica. Producers of the construction material source the inputs locally – the tar; or bitumen, comes from state oil refinery Petrojam while the aggregates are procured from a variety of local mining sources.

The Alcar plant was recently installed and was taken through a test run but is still to be commissioned into service due in part to public and regulatory concerns about its environmental impact.

The company insists that it constructed a plant with a “light” footprint in terms of its structure and impact on surrounding lands. Leslie also said that they added modern “scrubbers”, which ­prevent dust particles and noxious fumes from being dispersed into the ­surrounding communities. He argued that the new plant, with its retrofit scrubber, can meet European standards for air quality.

The plant, which spans 10,500 square feet, includes an asphalt tank, cold feed bin system, feed conveyor, control room, and mix discharge system.

A public consultation on the project is scheduled for the evening of February 12 at the Bridge View Basic School.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com