SWEPCO dragline successfully crosses I-49 on its way to new mining reserves

Dolet Night photo of dragline crossing I-49

The 40-day moving process to the new mining area ensures continued positive economic impact in the area. Photo courtesy of Fescue Burton, Dolet Hills Lignite Company.

The eight-million pound Dolet Hills Lignite Company (DHLC) dragline with its 325-foot boom and 88-cubic-yard bucket completed its journey across I-49 on its way to new 400-acre mining reserves at the Oxbow Mine, which was purchased from North American Coal Corporation in 2009 and will extend the life of the mine in Red River Parish to 2036.

“It took approximately three-and-a-half hours to prep the road with mats and about 20 minutes to take the dragline across the highway,” said Jay Henderson from DHLC, who was in charge of traffic control. “The dragline move was completed with no safety incidents to the 50 employees and contractors.” The crossing attracted quite the attention with the local public and news media. And this is just round one, as a second dragline will cross the interstate on its way to the new mining area in mid-June.

The dragline is a BE 1570 walking dragline, powered by electricity and able to move 17 million cubic yards of overburden annually. Mammoet is the contractor and the entire moving process took about 40 days.

DHLC received an eight-hour moving permit from the Department of Transportation for each night crossing, and all interstate traffic was directed to La. Highway 1 during the early morning hours.

SWEPCO’s DHLC, which began operation in 1985, provides four million tons of lignite coal annually to the nearby 650-megawatt Dolet Hills Power Station, operated by Cleco. SWEPCO and Cleco jointly own the power plant. DHLC employs 300 full-time employees, with 50 contractors on site every day.


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