Rock & Rail’s rail loop branches off the existing Union Pacific Railroad main line and has the capacity for unloading 116 car unit trains of aggregates (mined sand, gravel and crushed stone). Aggregate is a primary component of both concrete and asphalt construction and is used in every road you drive on or building you enter.
Colorado’s Front Range has developed rapidly, depleting aggregate supplies in Northern Colorado. Rock & Rail transports the material from a quarry in Wyoming via train to Weld County, where it is unloaded for local construction projects. One train takes approximately 400 trucks off of the road, reducing both highway traffic congestion and air emissions.
The Highway 34 Terminal located between a Class I railroad and another regional railroad, has excellent access to Hwy 34 and I-25 in a central location in Northern Colorado.
Concrete Mixing Facility
Ready-mix concrete is a construction material in use throughout Northern Colorado for roads, schools, hospitals, homes and other new construction. Its principal ingredient is coarse aggregate, which is now in short supply in the Front Range. The aggregate that Rock & Rail brings in to the Highway 34 Terminal from Wyoming thus replaces that diminished supply in the Front Range. As a result, much of the aggregate that comes into the Highway 34 Terminal is transloaded through a facility that mixes it with cement, sand, and water before putting those combined ingredients into mixer trucks. By combining those ingredients on site at the Highway 34 Terminal, truck traffic to deliver those materials to another concrete site is eliminated, saving wear and tear on local roads. Additionally, much of the materials from the Highway 34 Terminal are used in nearby developing areas, which again reduces delivery miles and wear and tear on roads.
The long-term plan for this site is to locate an asphalt plant on the site with the existing facilities. Putting all of these material transloading facilities onsite keeps traffic off the roads that would otherwise have to supply plants at another location with these materials. Having all of these transloading facilities on the site also reduces the cost of the basic construction materials that are critical to the region’s economic strength. Rock & Rail also may add rail delivery and transloading of other building products in the future.
Environmental Stewardship and Site Enhancements
The site uses state-of-the-art technology, environmental and sound controls. Operations on the site are in compliance with all applicable EPA regulations as administrated by the Colorado Department of Health and Environment. Rock & Rail complies with Colorado’s environmental laws and regulations.
A number of features have been installed at the site to minimize impacts from operations and help ensure capability with the surrounding area. Key features include:
- Agricultural architectural design of the concrete mixing facility
- Underpass roadway to reduce the visual impact of traffic entering the terminal
- Earthen berms to reduce noise and visual impacts
- Landscaping, native grasses and trees
- Sound walls along southern and northern property boundaries
- Dust control by watering and use of baghouses
- Noise suppression during material on- and off- loading
- Retention ponds to capture stormwater runoff
The construction industry contributed $17 billion to the Colorado economy in 2019 and is the 6th largest employment category.1
The Highway 34 Terminal provides significant financial benefits to Weld and Larimer counties and to local municipalities in those counties, both as an employer and as a critical supplier of building materials. Currently the site also contributes $300,000 annually in property taxes to Weld County and is projected to contribute $7 million over the next 25 years. The average salary and benefit package for a Rock & Rail employee is $74,000 per year, and the site also provides 43,000 jobs indirectly.
The total fiscal benefit to Weld and Larimer counties, local cities, the state of Colorado and FFE Wages is $750 million after 25 years and $1.5 billion when multipliers are also included in the calculations.2
1 Leed School of Business 55th Annual Colorado Business Economic Outlook 2020
2 IMPLAN Multiplier, used by Colorado State University