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Nielson Construction gets the go ahead on Quitchupah road project

John Nielson, company vice president; Hugh Christiansen, project construction manager; Mark Greenhalgh, project manager; and Wayne Nielson, company president, overlook the canyon from SUFCO Mine to where the new Quitchupah Creek Road will be built.

Nielson Construction makes plans to begin Quitchupah Road construction

Nielson Construction is preparing to tackle the largest road construction project in its history beginning in April.

The 11 mile Quitchupah Creek Road construction project linking State Route 10 to SUFCO Mine in Sevier County will be a huge undertaking and has the men and women of the Huntington-based construction company excited for the challenges that will come with blazing a trail through rugged terrain.

The Sevier County Special Service District #1 project was conceived more than a decade ago as a shorter route for coal truck traffic from SUFCO Mine to access the power plants in Emery County. Coal trucks currently travel along Acord Lakes Road, down Interstate 70 and then up SR-10 to the plants in a six day a week train of trucks on the roadway. The Quitchupah Creek Road will cut the distance traveled by nearly 50 miles each way for the coal trucks, as well as for many of the coal miners who live in the Emery and Carbon county areas. The road will be open to public access when completed.

The $25.2 million project is scheduled to begin in April with a completion date set for August of 2013.

To create the two-lane roadway construction crews will excavate 1,150,000 yards of earth and 400,000 tons of rock, roughly the equivalent of moving a mountain one-half mile squared.

"That's what we do," said Mark Greenhalgh, vice president of operations for Nielson Construction, who will serve as Quitchupah Creek Road project manager. Hugh Christiansen will be the construction manager on the project.

For the Quitchupah Road, Nielson Construction plans to devote as many as 80 employees to the project for the next year and a half and as many as 35 pieces of heavy equipment will be blazing a trail for the road. It is a prospect that proves to be a unique challenge that puts smiles on the faces of heavy equipment operators.

"This is 11 miles of new road across basically virgin country. This doesn't happen much anymore," Greenhalgh said.

Access is the key to the entire project and to gain access the construction company must first deal with a major obstacle at Water Hollow, which will require a double 14 foot diameter pipe and 100 feet worth of fill to be able to span.

Work crews will initially excavate the roadway from both the SR-10 side and the SUFCO side, but Greenhalgh indicated that most of the road excavation will be accomplished from the mine site as they build the road toward SR-10.

The project, in addition to an already large backlog of work on the books, will make for the busiest year in Nielson Construction's history, according to Wayne Nielson, company president.

"With this project we will have double the workload we've ever had before. It will give a big boost to the local economy," Nielson said.

In addition to this project Nielson Construction will also be working on the Adobe Wash Dam project near Orangeville and the two-year M&S Dam Project in the Uintah Basin. The company's asphalt division also has a large number of asphalt overlay projects on the books for the year, including a 16-mile overlay project on I-70 near Fremont Junction. Those projects are in addition to work provided for customers who rely on the company for coal hauling, concrete services, crane services and more.

According to John Nielson, vice president of Nielson Construction, with the slowing of oil field work in the Castle Valley area, the company will shift much of its oil field workforce to other projects once the production season begins in April. Oil field work for the company in its Uintah Basin Division looks promising for the coming year.

While most of the projects for the company are idled for the winter, when spring arrives those projects will be in high gear and employees will be back to work. With the workload the company faces, even after calling back its employees from winter layoff status, the company will have to hire additional employees.

"This will be the biggest year we've ever faced. It will be a challenge," said Wayne Nielson. "But we like a challenge."

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