New developments in Buffalo County frac sand - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

New frac sand developments in Buffalo County

Gilmanton (WQOW) - Another day, another development with frac sand: Buffalo County has tabled an application for up to two months.

Glacier Sands wants to build a sand mine and wash plant south of Gilmanton on Highway 88. Around 100 trucks could run six days a week and that's a concern some people have.  

On Thursday, the Buffalo County Board of Adjustment put on the brakes pending a report from the Department of Transportation.

"During Thursday's hearing, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation and Glacier's traffic engineer testified both that State Highway 88 is intended for the proposed use and that the trucks will be able to safely operate on State Highway 88.  The purpose of the (DOT) report is not to determine whether the highway is safe for the intended use but rather to determine what areas of the highway can be improved for the benefit of the public," said Brian Nodolf, an attorney who represents Glacier Sands.

A DOT representative says it may be better to characterize what they're doing as a risk assessment instead of a study.  Tom Beekman, with the DOT, says with the growth of frac sand mining, it's important to do risk assessments to see if there are areas where safety can be improved.  For example, the DOT would examine whether a shoulder should be widened.  Beekman said that doesn't mean Highway 88 is unsafe.  In fact, he said that highway has a low volume of traffic, but a high rate of safety features already in place including double yellow lines and advisory signs.

Glacier Sands says the sand mine and wash plant would create at least 40 to 50 high-paying jobs.

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