Home News Local News Asphalt plant up and running after lightning strike

Asphalt plant up and running after lightning strike

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Jana Lessard, project manager with J&H Services Inc., at the company’s Hagerman hot mix plant in 2018. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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A manager with a Hagerman asphalt plant said the facility should be operating now following a July 24 lightning strike, and that a city of Roswell project is expected to resume today.

J&H Services Inc., based in Albuquerque, has an asphalt hot-mix plant and aggregate crushing operation in Hagerman. The company also recently started a cement plant on West Brasher Road, which was not affected by the incident.

Jana Lessard, project manager, said that a lightning strike July 24 took down several components and drive motors at the Hagerman plant.

“When (an employee) went to start up the plant — we were going to run some cold mix — the computer was completely out,” Lessard said. “So then they started doing troubleshooting. We knew there had been lightning, but we had the plant grounded in three areas. We would never have thought that we would have problems with lightning strikes.”

She said the company had to start each part of the plant separately to determine what was functioning properly and then fix whatever had been damaged.

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“It is several days of trying to bring it back together and then getting parts to replace,” she said.

She said the last needed part arrived from Iowa and was installed on Thursday morning.

“They are calibrating the oil right now, as we speak,” she said during a Thursday afternoon interview. “So we are hoping to run some hot mix today and doing some patching to get it ready for paving tomorrow.”

The hot mix is expected for a city of Roswell project, repaving of a portion of South Atkinson Avenue. As announced by the city, that project between East McGaffey and East Alameda streets was supposed to begin on Monday. The project is slated now to finish up before Aug. 7 and the start of school to avoid any inconvenience to cars and pedestrians near Nancy Lopez Elementary.

Lessard said that a couple of other non-public projects have been delayed and, because the company sells materials to other contractors, those companies’ projects could have been delayed as well. Only the one project affected the city, though, she said.

“Unfortunately it has been so many man-hours. We have had guys pretty much work around the clock to get this whole thing up and going,” she said. “We have an electrician who works for us and he has worked pretty much non-stop on all the new wiring.”

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 311, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.