Lehigh’s $600 Million Project Is Underway

(MITCHELL) – Since 1902, Lehigh Cement Company has been a fixture and community partner in the City of Mitchell. The company’s $600 million expansion project will increase activity for the City of Mitchell in the next three years.

Ground breaking in October 2019

Lehigh broke ground on the project in October of 2019 and began preparing the site for the large project.

However, COVID-19 emerged in early 2020, slowing down the company’s progress with the project.

Overcoming most of the hurdles the pandemic created for the project start, the construction crews are now busy executing the initial stages of the project plans and materials for the project have started to arrive to the site.

A concrete slipform silo was constructed in December 2020 of this year. This is only one of many changes to the Mitchell landscape that will take place over the next 2.5 years.

The project will make available and attract approximately 1,000 construction positions during the four-year span, the estimated time to complete the project. Fulfillment of these vacant roles will increase the economic opportunity for Lawrence County. The newly attracted employees and their families will frequent local hotels, restaurants, and other businesses within Lawrence County, increasing revenue within the community.

Inner Silo
Tracy Crowther plant manager Lehigh

A 160-foot tall concrete slipform silo was constructed in December. Slipform silos are best for construction projects over 65’ in diameter. They are formed from a continuous, monolithic pour of the concrete walls, which creates a smooth, continuous outer appearance. The need for a continuous pour necessitates a 24 hours per day schedule, including nights and weekends, until the silo is completed. Currently, efforts constructing the foundation are now in place.

Rail Silos

The Mitchell plant currently produces 1,800 tons of cement a day. Once the construction is complete it will produce approximately 7,000 tons of cement a day.

Kiln Pier

This year, CSX railroad made improvements to the rail lines that run through Mitchell. Currently the plant transports 15 rail cars of cement per week. Upon the completion of the project, the number of rail cars used per week to ship cement will drastically increase.

CSX railroad made improvements at Meridian Road in Mitchell over the summer of 2020.

The City of Mitchell also made transportation improvements with the construction of Doc Hamilton Boulevard which helped Lehigh safely manage the semi traffic flow to and from the plant.

Lehigh rents property from the City of Mitchell for a laydown yard. The laydown yard provides a central location to store portions of equipment used for the $600 million construction project.

“It is going to be a challenge to receive all the material and store it,” said Tracy Crowther Lehigh’s plant manager of Mitchell.

Tracy Crowther, plant manager Lehigh Mitchell Plant explains the project.

“Currently we are receiving parts, and over this summer that will continue to get busier,” stated Crowther. “Much of the equipment will come in through a port near Louisville and will be hauled by truck up here. There will be some large equipment that will be moved in,” Crowther added. “We appreciate everyone’s patience as there may be some delays around here.”

Currently, Lehigh employs a total of 120 employees at the Mitchell plant. Lehigh’s employee roots run deep for families within the Mitchell plant. Many local families have multiple generations who have worked and eventually retired from this plant.

The new plant will add around 50 jobs once the new plant becomes operational in 2023.

“We have a long history in the area and are excited about solidifying our future here in Indiana,” said Tracy Crowther, plant manager Mitchell Plant. “The plant will be a more efficient production, with environmental sustainability to the community.”

“The company also partners with the City of Mitchell on many other projects which of course includes the Persimmon Festival and fireworks that are held each year. The company teams up with other businesses and community partners on other projects that may be beneficial including Mitchell Community Schools,” Crowther continued. “We want to continue to strengthen our ties with the community. We have a long history and certainly want to continue that.”

Lehigh will keep the community updated throughout the project.

The company wants to keep communication open during this construction phase and keep the public informed as progress is made. The company will launch a website in the near future. This will allow Mitchell residents and those interested in the project a resource to access and learn more about the project progression.

About the Project:

The heart of cement manufacturing is the cement kiln. Lehigh will install one kiln that will replace its current three kilns for the new plant.

The new kiln system will increase production capacity while also significantly reducing energy usage and emissions per ton of cement produced.

Notable economic and envirnomental benefits of this project include:

  • Approximately 50 newly created full-time jobs
  • More than 1,000 construction positions during the approximate four-year project span.
  • Technical training and growth opportunities for plant employees
  • State of the art technology to improve operating efficiencies.

About Lehigh Cement Company and Lehigh Hanson

Lehigh Cement Company is a part of Lehigh Hanson, Inc. based in Irving, Texas. Lehigh Hanson Inc., and its affiliated companies are part of HeidelbergCement, one of the world’s largest integrated manufacturers of building materials, with leading market positions in aggregates, cement, and ready-mixed concrete.

Visit www.lehighhanson.com for more information.