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Prairie Materials ups production for rail project

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World Cement,

Votorantim Cimentos’ North American aggregates operation, Prairie Materials, was awarded the contract for construction of new railway sidings that required the company to increase production by more than a third. The Illinois High-Speed Rail Project required 177 000 t of aggregates, necessitating Prairie Materials’ Pontiac plant to ramp up production.

Plant Manager Chris Basham explained: "We started out in April with no stockpiles on the ground, which meant making a very fast start. Everyone worked 12-hour shifts five days a week, plus eight hours every Saturday to meet the demand." The team ran a Caterpillar D10 bulldozer 24 hours a day for the first four months, and two new employees were added to the workforce. 

"We couldn't have achieved what we did this year without the experienced crew we have," Basham says. "The teamwork here is amazing. And by keeping our focus on safety, we had zero lost-time incidents again this year."  

The US$1.9 billion project continues and over this year and next the company’s ready-mix operations in Central Illinois will supply more than 15 000 yd3 of concrete for contractors working on barrier walls, fencing and crossings. When the new rail corridor opens for high-speed travel in 2017, passengers will enjoy a 4 ½-hour trip between Chicago and St. Louis, Missouri.?

Adapted from press release by

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