Test Stuff!

Terrain Satellite

Operator B has two mines that supply sand to a processing plant in Chippewa Falls. One is located at 5312 CTH B in Howard (B-1 mine). Due to conditions set by the town, sand cannot be extracted, blasted or hauled from the mine site between May 1 and October 15. The acreage for this mine is 185 acres. A second mine, located at 20th Street in Cooks Valley (B-2 mine), was developed in part due to the imposed restrictions on the B-1 mine. Mining can take place year round at the Cooks Valley location. The acreage for this mine is 234 acres. The two mines share a haul route for approximately 11 miles.

The haul route for the B-2 mine, which is located farthest from the processing plant, begins at the mine entrance on 20th Street and continues on 135th Avenue then to STH 40, CTH B, USH 53, and CTH S, which is 17.7 miles one-way. The Town of Cooks Valley negotiated, with the assistance of the county commissioner, a road upgrade and right of way permit. The permit covers the town roads starting at the mine entrance on 20th Street to 135th Avenue to its intersection with STH 40, a distance of 3.3 miles. Operator B agreed to bear all costs of rebuilding the road to WisDOT FDM standards needed for sand hauling. No amounts were specified in the permit. The town also negotiated a town road maintenance agreement where the operator agreed to cover all exceptional maintenance –work above normal public maintenance such as increased snow plowing or more frequent pavement repairs that may be required for commercial trucks.

The 11-mile one-way haul route for the B-1 mine starts on CTH B near 55th St. and then follows the same B-2 mine route, that is CTH B to USH 53 to CTH S. The RUMA however, includes a section of CTH B running west of the mine entrance, to the intersection of CTH B and STH 40. The RUMA called for three equal payments to reflect a phased reconstruction of 7.45 miles at a total cost of $2,888,089. Four segments were identified:

1) STH 40 to S&S Mine entrance (1.5 miles),
2) Mine entrance to 90th Street (3.5 miles)
3) CTH B from 90th to 110th Street (2.25 miles)
4) CTH B 110th to USH 53 (.2 miles).

Segment 3, CTH B from 90th Street to 110th although identified here, had already been redesigned in 2010, and was already scheduled for construction in 2011. Cost estimates for Segments 1, 2, and 4 were based on the Segment 3 project that was paid for by federal aid and county funds. The cost per mile for the Segment 3 project was $548,671. Estimates were derived by multiplying the per mile costs by the length of segments 1, 2, and 4 for a total of $2,853,089.22. An additional $35,000 was budgeted for a cattle crossing.

Initial payment occurred at the execution of the agreement and subsequent payments will be due at the beginning of each construction phase. The operator will be responsible if costs exceed estimates. Likewise, if payments exceed actual costs, the county will refund monies to the operator.

In terms of impacts, the haul route for the B-2 mine impacts 3.3 miles of town roads, 4.5 miles of state roads, which include USH 53, and 9.9 miles of county roads. The B-1 mine when it is operating hauls over 2.5 miles of state roads and 8.5 miles of county roads.

Operator C has been permitted to operate three mines in Chippewa County however; only one is in production at this time. This mine is located near 4430 186th Avenue in Cooks Valley (225 acres) and according to the reclamation permit, has a wash plant. A processing plant has been permitted in the Town of Bloomer near the intersection of STH 64/CTH SS but construction has not started. Access to the proposed processing plant may be along 85th Street, which may need to be upgraded. Operator C’s haul route begins at 186th Avenue to CTH DD to STH 64 for a total of 8.4 miles. Like other haul routes, town (1.6 miles), county (2.2 miles), and state roads (4.5 miles), comprise the haul route. Therefore, two road use agreements were negotiated at the town and county level.

The town RUMA covered 1.6 miles from the mine entrance to CTH DD. The particulars in regard to funding a construction and setting up a maintenance account were practically identical to the County RUMA except that improvement to 186th Avenue would require a 5.5 inch hot-mix asphalt (HMA) overlay.

The county RUMA acknowledged that the county would be reimbursed for improvements and required Operator C to fund a construction account in the amount of $500,000. The county would improve CTH DD from 186th Avenue to STH 64, a length of 2.2 miles by adding approximately a 3.5 inch HMA overlay, shouldering and other incidentals. The work was to be completed within 60 days of the agreement execution. Remaining funds from this work would be used to design, construct and make initial geometric improvements to the intersection of CTH DD and 186th Avenue with actual construction scheduled for 2012. If costs exceed $500,000 the operator would be billed for the difference. If the costs come in under budget, the remaining funds would transfer to a county maintenance account reserved solely for this haul route. The account would be funded through a monthly payment of 5 cents per ton of sand hauled from the mine. Operator is required to submit production records for the prior month’s production with each monthly payment to confirm payment amount. The operator would be allowed to suspend payment once the account balance reached $500,000 and restart payment when the balance fell below $100,000.

Because the processing plant has not been constructed, the sand is trucked more than 80 miles one-way to the operator’s processing plant in Woodbury, Minnesota mostly over state roads and the interstate. Given the required traveling distance, it is particularly important for Operator C to have the purest sand possible prior to leaving the mine. Operator C has two other mines that were recently permitted in May 2012. One mine, 160 acres, is located on 186th Avenue and shares the negotiated haul route. The other mine, which is a 1,224-acre site, will have direct access to STH 64. Each location will have a wash plant but construction has not begun on either site. Should the remaining sand mines and the processing plant become operational, STH 64 will become a heavy truck corridor.

Operator D’s mine entrance is located on CTH A near the intersection with CTH DD and its processing plant is in the village of New Auburn on the Progressive Railroad line. The 15-mile haul route includes CTH A to STH 40 to USH 53 to CTH M to CTH SS to CTH Q.

The February 2012 agreement identified 2.97 miles on CTH A that needed to be upgraded. Estimates were based on the rehabilitation work done on CTH B in 2011. A unit cost of $599,209 per mile was used as a baseline estimate. A 9.5-inch of hot-mix asphalt (HMA) overlay was also required to accommodate truck traffic for twenty years. The estimated cost of the HMA was $721,659. (The AET report reported overlay depths for 10 years.) In addition geometric improvements at the mine entrance ($250,761) and to the processing plant entrance on CTH Q ($199,825) were included. A total estimate of $3,7999,843 also included costs such as safety edge and an inflation factor of 5 percent.

In the RUMA, the operator agreed to pay $3,800,000 million upfront. If the costs were to exceed the estimates, the operator would pay the difference. The RUMA also stipulated that unused funds would transfer to a maintenance account that would cover all exceptional maintenance costs. A $35,000 annual payment would initially fund the maintenance account. Payments would be suspended when the account reaches a balance of $500,000 and resume again when the balance falls under $100,000. If, for some reason, other roads are used by mistake or with the consent of the county, the operator would be responsible for road damage and the county would use maintenance account funds to pay for exceptional maintenance.

The parties also agreed that the operator would pay for grade crossing improvements at CTH Q near CTH SS in addition to the above listed amounts. The mine size is 176 acres. In terms of impacts, the haul route consists of 8.4 miles of state roads and 6.6 miles of county roads.

The Operator A mine is located within the town of Auburn on CTH DD near STH 64. According to the road use agreement dated May 2011, Operator A would reimburse the county $311,510 in a single payment to reconstruct the 0.2 miles of CTH DD between the mine entrance and STH 64. The operator owns a processing plant on the Barron County side of New Auburn along the Progressive Railroad line. The haul route from the mine to the plant is CTH DD to STH 64 to USH 53 to CTH M and then over local streets in New Auburn for an approximate distance of 10.9 miles. The haul route includes 9.9 miles of state roads, 0.8 miles of county roads, and 0.2 miles of village roads.

Further maintenance is not expected on CTH DD as it has been built for a 30-year lifespan. Parties however agreed that the county could invoice the operator for exceptional maintenance. CTH M is a short section of urban county road located within the Village. It is in relatively good condition, however agreements with both Operators A and D who share this route, were left open for future discussions for upkeep or improvements. It is most likely that these operators will need to share in the expense for the future upkeep/improvement on this section of roadway. Operator A's mine, which has a wet plant, was initially permitted for 135 acres. The permit was recently expanded to include 334 more acres for a total of 469 acres.

The forty-three acre mine was permitted at 19249 17th Street, Bloomer in August of 2012. Activities at the site will include excavation, screening, crushing, stockpiling and loading. Trucks will be used to transport raw sand to an offsite processing facility. It is projected that 70 percent of mineable sand will become product and 30 percent of the mineable sand will be reject material that is returned to the mine site for use in reclamation.

A developer’s mining agreement was negotiated between the Town of Auburn and Operator E. The developer’s agreement contained RUMA stipulations. A road use agreement was not negotiated with the county as the indicated haul route includes only town and state roads.

According to the agreement, sand will be hauled over Town of Auburn roads for 1.8 miles. The route would begin at 17th Street to 195 Street to 22nd Street to STH 64. In the developer’s mining agreement, Operator E will video tape the truck route to serve as a baseline for needed repairs, and for the condition the road must be in at the end of the agreement (10 years). The operator will determine an escrow amount based on the cost of road repair per mile times the total number of miles of town roads. To determine the cost of road repair, the town board will obtain bids from at least three contractors within 60 days the agreement becomes effective. The bids will be based on an estimate of the cost per mile for a replacing a class B town road of 20 feet in width, with broader reinforced corners, 12 inches of base materials, and 4 inches of asphalt. The bids will not include the cost of reconfiguring the road or expanding the road surface beyond 20 feet. Bids will be averaged to determine the cost of road repair.

Any remaining funds after repair will fund an escrow account on a monthly basis at a rate of $0.20 cents per ton of sand hauled. Payment can be suspended when the escrow account reaches the escrow amount. This operator will be required to maintain records of haul miles for each truck each day and submit records and payment on a monthly basis. The town may adjust the escrow rate to reflect costs of road construction. The operator will be responsible for additional payments if the escrow account balance is insufficient.

The agreement also satisfies financial responsibilities required under the town’s Mine and Weight Limit Ordinance. As of September 2012, this operator was reviewing different business models to determine where processing would occur and where sand would be loaded to the rail network.

Parcel Size: 1,041 square miles

2011 Population/Density: 62,610/ 60 persons per square mile

Demographics: Predominately white

23.6% under 18
7.5% 18 to 24
6.5% 25 to 29
12.3% 30 to 39
14.8% 40 to 49
15% 50 to 59
10.1 60 to 69
10% 70 and older
Top Employers (250-999 employees): TTM Advanced Circuits, Inc., Chippewa Falls Public School, St. Joseph's Hospital, Department of Corrections, Chippewa Valley Music Festivals, Inc., County of Chippewa, Wal-Mart, Precision Pipeline, LLC, Mason Companies, Inc., Bloomer Memorial Medical Center, Inc., Cray, Inc.

Industrial parks with rail access: Seymour Cray Sr. (Chippewa Falls), Bloomer, Stanley

Rail freight dependent businesses (prior to 2011): Bloomer Plastics, Jennie-O-Turkey (Barron), Glacier State Distribution, PMI

Type of Government: County Administrator

Recreational/Tourism revenue: $96 million (2010)

Water Bodies: 449 lakes over 20,000 acres including Lake Wissota, Chippewa River

Source: Wisconsin Department of Administration, Chippewa County Economic Profile 2011 – Chippewa Falls Chamber of Commerce, West Central Regional Planning Commission

Chippewa County is located in West Central Wisconsin, with parts of the County falling in the Eau Claire metropolitan region. Chippewa County is a member county of the Western Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission. Computer and electronic manufacturing, food services, educational services, nursing and residential care facilities, and specialty trade contractors are the top Chippewa County industries by employment. In terms of farming, about a half million acres are currently being farmed. The county has 11 industrial parks some of which are located with access to rail and water.

According to the 2007 Global Insight Transearch data, Chippewa County businesses generated 1.4 million tons transported by truck in comparison to 989,000 inbound tons destined for Chippewa County. Another 33,800 tons moved within the County by truck. On the rail side, 137,700 tons originated in Chippewa County, and 383,800 terminated.

Per the 2010 United States Census, 31% of Chippewa County residents work in the City of Chippewa Falls, 21% work in the City of Eau Claire, and 32% work elsewhere in Chippewa County. Demographic patterns mirror the United States in terms of age distribution. Forty three percent of the population is under 18 or over 60 years old. The American Community Survey lists median salary for this county at $13.16 per hour or $27,368 a year.

Chippewa County has a County Administrator form of government. Nearly two decades ago, the county switched its government type, and previously elected office positions became merit-based. The head of the county is a merit-appointed chief administrative officer who coordinates administrative and management duties and answers to a county board of supervisors. This has allowed department commissioners sole authority, equivalent to a board. This important fact has streamlined efforts in Chippewa County to work directly with sand operators.

Most townships within Chippewa County do not have town zoning ordinances, but some have adopted county zoning ordinances. All villages and cities have zoning ordinances.

Before 2010, there were less than a dozen sandstone quarries, all relatively small operations employing fewer than 20 in Chippewa County. The first conditional use permit for an industrial sand mine was submitted in 2009. As of August 2012, five frac sand mines and three processing plants are in operation. Three additional mines were permitted between May and July (see Figure 4), and others are currently proposed.

Wisconsin State Statute 349.16(c) allows counties and local towns to be reimbursed for road damage. Chippewa County has used tools provided by state statutes to negotiate road upgrade and maintenance use agreements that have served as a template for other counties in Wisconsin.

State roads, under the jurisdiction of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT), do not have recourse for road damage. While state roads are built to higher standards to reflect increased traffic levels, the life of the road is shortened by increased level of trucks carrying sand.