CF Industries’ $2.1 billion expansion to its nitrogen facility in Donaldsonville is underway, highways have been reconstructed to accommodate the work, and crews are just about finished driving pilings.
CF Industries’ $2.1 billion expansion to its nitrogen facility in Donaldsonville is underway, highways have been reconstructed to accommodate the work, and crews are just about finished driving pilings. Donaldsonville’s site is already the nation’s largest nitrogen plant, covering 1,400 acres, will add a new ammonia plant, a new urea plant and a new urea-ammonium nitrate – the three nitrogen-based products most heavily used by agricultural, industrial and other markets. John Daigle, Chemical Engineer at CF Industries, spoke to the Donaldsonville Rotary Club at its weekly luncheon at Café Lafourche and said a few years ago the CF’s management and board of directors knew it was a “great time for CF to look at expanding.” “Two things came into play when it came to location of the extra plants,” Daigle said. “One is community and one is economics.” Daigle said after taking 17 trips to Europe to research expansion ideas, CF’s expansion is underway and will certainly be different. CF’s rail import and export system will be using more cars and is going to service two plants and with the unit train. They’ll pull in a 85 to 100-car train but the difference between what is normally done is there is enough rail on the site so the train won’t be pulling up and backing up that blocks traffic on the highway. “Even though we’re adding new trains to the system it should still be a lot quicker than what we’re doing now,” Daigle said. Another thing being installed is a concrete plant on CF Industries’s site. Just installing the new two units require 65,000 cubic yards of concrete, Daigle said. LaFarge is setting up an on-site plant that’ll be there and will leave 10 trucks dedicated to the project on site. “There’s no reason for those trucks to leave and be on your highways for the pouring of 65,000 cubic yards of concrete,” Daigle said. The concrete plant will be functional by the end of the year. Not only did CF have to make inside adjustments for space, it also had to accommodate the people who use the roads around the facility. Total for the two units there will be 12,000 pilings driven into the ground, which is determined by the salt capacity levels. Daigle said it’s a tremendous load on the structures that stand at 200 feet tall and weighing about 400 tons a piece. Daigle said they spent about eight months with the Department of Transportation Development DOTD to figure out how to accommodate 3,500 people on the site “at peak.” New turn lanes have been installed on the highway 3089 and a rule from DOTD mandates CF “cannot release workers between 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.,” according to Daigle. As of late the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office has been patrolling and directing the traffic flow and will continue to do so.
With so many workers in Donaldsonville, there is no doubt there will be demand for safe quiet comfortable housing nearby. No one wants to live in a hotel for months at a time. Ascension Corporate Rentals provides furnished extended stay apartments and corporate housing accommodations within 1 mile of CF Industries.
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