Illinois News

Last permits nearly in place for facility to load barges

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Apr. 15, 2016 12:01 am Updated: Apr. 16, 2016 12:34 am

PIKE STATION, Ill. -- The permitting process to build a grain elevator and barge-loading facility on a 65-acre site on the Mississippi River across from Louisiana, Mo., is nearly complete, and the owner believes that construction could start in a few months.

Greg Dolbeare, president of SIMCO Grain, said he is in the process of completing final steps to move forward with construction of the multimillion-dollar facility. SIMCO is short for Sny Island Merchandising Co.

"Most of the permits are obtained, but I'm dealing with a couple issues," Dolbeare said. "It looks like they're going to fall into place."

The Pike County Board granted a conditional use permit for the project last month. Dolbeare already has received permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and initial permits from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Plans provided to the Corps of Engineers called for:

?Construction of six 200,000-bushel-capacity grain silos with associated weigh scales, grain pits for truck unloading, a conveyor system to the river, an office and roads in an existing cleared area adjacent to the Sny Levee system.

?A covered conveyor about 900 feet long supported by piers to cross over the Sny Levee and through a corridor to be cleared on a peninsula in the river before being supported on elevated infrastructure on a floating deck barge.

?Four 6-foot-diameter dolphins/piers installed in the same alignment as the permanent floating deck barge to provide secure buffer and mooring structures while barges are loaded. Two of the structures would be installed immediately upstream and two immediately downstream.

This would be the only barge-loading facility in Illinois between East Hannibal and Alton. The facility would be situated between the Champ Clark and Louisiana railroad bridges.

"It is a long stretch, and it is needed," Dolbeare said, referring to the distance between existing facilities and the need for a new one. "There's a lot of corn and [soybeans] that are getting on wheels and going a long way to find a home in this area."

Dolbeare has worked in the grain-handling business for most of his adult life. His father also worked in the grain business.

Once construction starts, Dolbeare said, he believes the facility will be operational in about a year and he expects that in the second year he will be adding more storage.

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