Steamboat Springs Hayden Station Director Frank Roitsch presented a check Monday for $400,616 to the Routt County commissioners to reimburse the county for heavy use of Routt County Road 27 during a coal haul that ended June 18.
After a slide at the edge of one of Seneca Coal Company's surface mines in January curtailed production, the Hayden Station power plant found itself short on coal. The station burns about 5,000 tons of coal each day, all of which is supplied by the Seneca Coal Co., Roitsch said.
With a special use permit obtained in 2000 to help out in times of shortage, the power plant was able to get the necessary coal from nearby Twentymile Coal Co.
The coal haul, which used trucks to move coal from Twentymile Coal Company to the Hayden Station, began Jan. 23. About 200,000 tons -- or a 40-day supply for the plant -- was moved, Roitsch said.
As a requirement of Hayden Station's special use permit, the power plant paid the county $2 for every ton of coal hauled by truck from Twentymile Coal Co. The money will offset the maintenance costs associated with heavier-than-usual traffic on the 14-mile stretch of the road used by the trucks.
No more than 103 truckloads of coal, carrying an average of about 25 tons, traveled the road each day.
"It worked really well," Roitsch said. "We're very appreciative of how it occurred."
During the haul, two minor issues came up, but Roitsch said they were both quickly resolved. First, the "no haul hour" was moved from the 3 to 4 p.m. window specified in the special use permit to a 4 to 5 p.m. time when school buses were running. Second, homeowners near Routt County Road 27 requested that truckers not use their noisy Jake brakes when passing near homes on the road.
Without the coal haul, Roitsch said the power station would have had to consider bringing in coal from Colowyo Coal Company south of Craig. Bringing coal from that mine, he said, would have been more disruptive to the surrounding communities, as it would have been necessary for trucks to drive through Craig. It would also have been more expensive. Seneca Mine is now caught up, Roitsch said, and probably will be opening a new coal vein to provide for future coal needs.
Hayden Station generates power for three companies. Xcel Energy, based in Denver, receives about half of the station's supply; Pacific Corporation, based in Portland, Ore., receives 17 percent; and the Salt River Project, based in Phoenix, Ariz., receives the balance.
"It was a real straightforward haul and we appreciate being able to do it," Roitsch said.
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