Warm Weather Helps Asphalt Plant Stay Open

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This unseasonably mild winter has allowed an asphalt plant in Luzerne County to remain open and produce hot asphalt to pave roads in our area.

Asphalt plants usually shut down during the winter months, but not this year.

At the Pikes Creek Asphalt Plant in Luzerne County`s Back Mountain they working with hot asphalt.

"It`s very much helping. We are able to pave every day. Keep the roads maintained for the energy companies and keeping crews going. We are still working, no layoffs for the crew. We are still going strong," said plant manager J.J. Mullin.

Usually workers at the plant are laid off from December through March, but this year's warm winter has kept nearly all the company`s three dozen employees working.

"It`s nice. Feels good. Guys are actually working they are not sitting at home. Everybody`s excited about working. It`s going to help them pay their bills and put food on the table, heat their homes. Good time for everybody," said employee Mike Serafin.

The mild winter has allowed PennDOT crews to keep working on several long term projects, including the Route 29 bridge that connects Hanover Township to Plymouth Township. During the September floods the project got behind schedule. With all this mild weather crews are now ahead of schedule, with a completion date expected in May of this year.

"It`s about time. I miss that route going to and from. The route around has worked, but I`m ready for it to be open again. I think traffic will be a lot better," said Father Adam Sexton, who serves at a church in Nanticoke.

Right now only gas drilling companies are using the asphalt from the plant at Hunlock Creek.

PennDOT said it can't use the hot pavement to patch roads yet because its trucks are now outfitted to plow snow not carry pavement.