Laddonia ethanol plant’s agreement with pavers speeds up paving pace
By Barry Dalton
LADDONIA—The new tower and heavy machinery recently installed on the east side of Hwy. 54 in Laddonia, in front of the ethanol plant, is not, you may think, a new way to process corn—it’s a mobile asphalt factory.
MoDOT Area Engineer Brian Untiedt said that although paving was originally planned to begin on July 20, it might be another few days or possibly a week before work can begin because of weather and schedule conflicts with the contractor, Emery Sapp and Sons. Untiedt added that the work should take about a month to complete once it does begin.
He noted that the work would likely have an impact on traffic. The leadership of POET Biorefining of Laddonia recognized this and said it would be willing to help.
“For the farmers here and everyone in this area, the more efficient and fast the pavers are, the better it is for everybody, too,” POET General Manager Steve Murphy said. “If they were to have to haul asphalt in from farther away, the project would take longer and cost more. Highway 54 is our main artery getting into the plant, so if we can help the pavers get done a week or two faster, we win, they win, everyone in Audrain County wins.”
Untiedt said prep work has already been completed on Hwy. 54 and the asphalt plant is ready to go.
“The contractor has already completed concrete repairs and fixed some joints along Missouri 19,” Untiedt explained. “We are paving from the roundabout near Community R-VI to the intersection of Highway J.”
ESS installed the mobile asphalt plant in Laddonia last week. Even though the plant is massive, Asphalt Plant Operator John Brown says it can be moved fairly quickly.
The POET plant’s parking area and grounds were a perfect choice for locating the plant because of its central location and flat surface. In exchange, ESS will provide POET free asphalt and pave some of its parking area.
“We’ve been working on setting this plant up for about a week,” Brown said. “We tore down the last location in a couple of days and moved it here. So it takes about a week and half to tear down the mobile plant and move it to a new location.”
Brown said the Laddonia plant will produce about 20,000 tons of asphalt. He added that using mobile asphalt plants saves the company money on trucking and speeds up the paving process.
POET’s only expectation is that the paving is completed by harvest time.
“We are a biorefinery making fuel grade ethanol for gasoline. We’ll grind almost 25 million bushels a year,” Murphy said. “Farmers will need that area (where the mobile asphalt plant is located) to cue up in the morning before the scales open.”