‘Truck after Truck’ Shake Up Luzerne County Communities

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NEWPORT TOWNSHIP -- Construction on a new natural gas-fueled power plant in Luzerne County is barely a few months old and already the work is upsetting communities around the project -- specifically neighbors in the Mocanaqua area who have to deal with nonstop heavy truck traffic that starts at 6 a.m. and goes until 7 p.m.

Truck after truck full of stone travel through an area called the "Lee" section of Glen Lyon in Luzerne County. Only about 20 homes sit back from the main road through there, but the families who live there cannot believe what has suddenly happened to their lives.

"This is unusual. You get trucks coming through here sporadically but not constant like this," said Anthony Soletski.

The trucks pick up loads of stone at a quarry in Newport Township and deliver it to the area where a natural gas-fueled power plant is being built in Salem Township, between Shickshinny and Berwick.

The dump trucks travel eight miles between the quarry and the construction site. They have to drive through Mocanaqua. In 10 minutes time, we counted 19 of them.

"My neighbor also did," said Paul Shiptoski. "He was here on January 15. His estimation is that there were roughly 1,300 triaxles drove through the area in one day."

Families complain that the constant truck traffic fills their neighborhood with diesel smell, along with dust and dirt.

"It's disgusting. It's awful. It's awful. My kids even tell me they can taste it in their mouths," said Michelle Vnuk. "The house actually shakes. I know the one neighbor's foundation already cracked and she had all her foundation recently repaired."

Newswatch 16 has learned that 45 of these dump trucks are being used to build the National Gas power plant construction in Luzerne County. But with the amount of stone that is needed for this project, contractors want upwards of 60 trucks.

It's a concern for families in Glen Lyon who insist the number of trucks now  is way too many.

What also may be discouraging for those folks is that the constant truck traffic may continue through the duration of construction -- about two and a half years.

Neighbors are circulating a petition now and plan to give it to Newport Township supervisors at their next meeting in February.

The company building the plant insists everything is, "being done by the book," and at this point, it would be very difficult to put a stop to the trucks and the traffic when construction at the power plant is well underway.

13 comments

  • Former Tri-Axle Driver

    People were talking about wetting the gravel — there is a problem with that, and I have driven tri-axle and have worked on projects before — gravel, for the most part that get’s used, is 2A Modified Stone, and when it gets too wet, it get’s like working with mud and it clumps up and portions of it wind up staying stuck into the bed of the truck when they try to dump. If the stone is too muddy then it is harder to get it to “set” right. I’ve worked on sewer projects where the site inspectors actually reject loads of stone for it being too wet to use.
    As for noise, hate to say it, but that is just how diesel vehicles are. The engines are under a lot of torque to be able to move. People don’t realize that these little tri-axles pack the same amount of 70,000 pounds that a regular tractor trailer with a 53-foot trailer does, all in the little box. So it’s a lot of weight in a confined space so these motors work harder and sound louder becasue of working harder.
    As for people’s houses getting ruined — ever power wash your home, anyone that lives near a road, which would be a vast number of people — there is so much dirt in our air in NEPA it isn’t funny. A couple of years ago one of the major magazines did an article about air quality in the northeastern states and the Scranton/Wilkes Barre area came up has having a high number or pollutants and terrible air quality when compared to other areas. And is has nothing to do with trucks going by, it’s just how our air quality and environment is. Believe it or not, even though there hasn’t been coal mining for decades, the air quality in NEPA is still impacted by the coal residue that is in our environment from way back then.
    I still don’t understand how the dust is damaging their homes, because at any given moment there is dust in dirt in the air already. Guess what people, your homes already get infiltrated by the dust and rubber residue from tires of all those cars that have been driven on the roads past your homes all these years.
    You know the funny thing, if it was their relatives that had gotten jobs driving these trucks, they wouldn’t be complaining.

  • Jabroni Pasta

    Please use less intrusive advertising methods. When watching videos it is very painful. It makes the site look very classless, cheap, and less credible.

  • pasu

    This isn’t a highly visited area Stern. No one is talking about stopping progress with the building of the plant. NO ONE has dirt and ash foundation here.No one want to take the truck drivers job away. Residents want consideration. The drivers need to SLOW DOWN! The trucks need to be covered, there needs to be a wash station to keep the dust and dirt to a minimum. You are not breathing in the contaminants, they are. You are not repairing damage to you’re home, they are. No one is worried about workers when the plant opens. You who think this is a non story, bring you’re lawn chair down to their area, and enjoy the parade for a couple hours. You won’t last 15 minutes.

  • Stern

    I wish every road that connects a largely visited area with high volume of tractor trailers or construction trucks could complain. “My house was caused ruin by this” “My kids are getting sick” “I had enough time to count 1300 trucks” Leave these poor workers alone. Next, the street will be petitioning against the traffic of the Plants employees in three years.. polluting their tax paved street (because this Plant will assist the ever-so blooming Glen Lyon) and being noisy. Grow up.

  • David

    There should be a way to wet the gravel and trucks before leaving the quarry to control the dust. Silica dust is almost as bad as asbestos.

  • Jane

    In regards to the story concerning the truck traffic in Mocanaqua, when I was a kid in the 1970s and they were building the nuclear plant near that same site, I lived near the Hunlock Creek Sand and Gravel pit and they hauled sand and stone from there to the construction site. The trucks ran 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for several years and there was nothing anyone could do about it. It was noisy and dirty and awful, the heavy trucks ruined the country roads with dozens of potholes, but nobody cared about the local residents. I’m just saying, you’re probably going to have to suck it up unfortunately.

  • Scott

    If they were building a shopping mall or a steak house this wouldn’t even be a story. But they are building something everyone needs: a modern, efficient power plant that uses an abundant local resource. Throw in the words “natural gas,” however, and suddenly everyone is beside themselves. Never mind the fact that every truck driver is probably a local person making a decent wage and never mind that the quarry owner and its employees are probably glad to have the work. Any jobs created by building that plant? Any jobs coming in after it’s built? Will they be hauling stone the entire two and a half years? Seems unlikely since once the foundation goes in, they start on the actual plant. WNEP doesn’t have a big staff and I have no idea if any of its reporters have any training in journalism, but is it too much to ask for some context? I feel bad for the people who were surprised that local economic growth would mean a temporary increase in truck traffic but is there really only one side to this story?

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