It took seven years for Essroc Italcementi Group to propose and then build a conveyor belt at its Nazareth-area plants, but it took less than a year for the project to earn industrywide praise. The Portland Cement Association industry group and Cement Americas, a trade publication, gave Essroc an award for innovation as part of the Cement Industry Environment and Energy Awards.
Essroc’s 1.7-mile conveyor belt carries limestone from a quarry in Upper Nazareth Township to cement plants in Nazareth and Lower Nazareth Township. It also carries clinker from kilns to finish mills.
The system includes two underground tunnels in Nazareth and a bridge 150ft above the quarry floor. The US$20m project eliminates the need for as many as 162,000 truck trips through town each year, reducing pollution from dust.
The project, first proposed in the spring of 1998, faced several years of opposition from some borough residents, who fought the state Department of Environmental Protection permit approving construction. The residents’ group finally relented, but said it would monitor the belt’s performance.