Asphalt plant

Pittsburg County commissioners have voted to purchase a complete new asphalt plant, similar to this one, for $1,470,400 from Ahern Industries, Inc. in San Antonia, Texas. The purchase price includes transportation and installation of the plant at a site yet to be determined, the commissioners said.

County commissioners have voted to buy all the equipment needed to open and operate a new portable hot asphalt plant in Pittsburg County — to be set up at a site they say is still to be determined.

All three county commissioners voted during their regular Monday meeting to accept the bid of $1,479,400 submitted by Ahern Industries, Inc. of San Antonio, Texas. Plans call for District 1 Commissioner Charlie Rogers, District 2 Commissioner Kevin Smith and District 3 Commissioner Ross Selman to each provide an employee to operate the facility.

The contract agreement calls for the Pittsburg County commissioners to lease-purchase the equipment by making 144 monthly payments of $12,921.10 – with the cost split evenly among all three districts — at an interest rate of 3.94 percent. Commissioners said money to pay for the plant will come from proceeds from the voter-passed one-cent county sales tax designated for roads, bridges, equipment and related costs, which went into effect in 2016.

Also, the contract calls for Ahern Industries to transport the new equipment to Pittsburg County, and to build and install the equipment at the site selected by the commissioners.

It will take up to 16 days for the new equipment to be transported and installed, which consists of two days of travel time and 14 days on the job site. The agreement also includes training for whoever the commissioners select to be the asphalt plant operator or operators. However, the equipment is not expected to be transported until the commissioners have settled on a site.

Smith said the commissioners would like to place the plant somewhere that would be accessible to all three county commission districts — possibly somewhere along U.S. Highway 270 east of McAlester. That makes it likely the county will have to either purchase or lease the land.

Since each district will be providing an employee, will any new jobs be created or will the county asphalt plant workers be assigned from existing personnel?

“That will be hard to say,” Smith said. “We may need somebody with a little more knowledge,” he said, referring to knowledge of asphalt plant operations.

The county commissioners are not planning to go into the asphalt business, at least at this point, pending further legal clarifications, according to Smith. They purchased the asphalt plant to manufacture asphalt for the county’s own use, commissioners said.

County commissioners said they decided to have the county buy its own asphalt plant due to the difficult time they have getting asphalt when they need it for road projects. Smith said there only two facilities selling asphalt in the county, one in Hartshorne and another between McAlester and Savanna, and they can’t always get the material when they need it for a job.

Rogers and Selman agreed.

“We’ve had a very hard time getting asphalt,” Selman said.

Smith added that “Hopefully, it’s going to be a little more efficient.” Rogers also thinks having the asphalt plant will be helpful.

“It will benefit the county,” said Rogers.

Smith said the county sent out 16 bid requests for the asphalt plant, but only received two replies. He figured that was because of the bid requirement that the equipment be delivered and set up as part of the agreement.

He anticipated no problems in getting the raw materials needed for asphalt production, although he added more sand may have to be purchased.

Equipment included

The cold feed system includes four aggregate compartments for the rock or gravel fragments used in the process, with cold feed bins for proportioning the aggregates that are provided on one frame, with a capacity of 20 heaped tons in each bin. The bins are equipped with a 24-inch wide belt feeder assembly. Each bin conveyor includes a shaft-mounted speed sensor tachometer that relays pulses to a computer system. That translates pulses for top-quality mix design, according to the contract information.

Also included is a 30 inch-wide aggregate collecting conveyor for measuring weight of aggregates for the most precise hot mix recipe. A four foot by eight foot scalping screen is included, with an abrasion resistant reject chute provided to discharge unwanted oversize material. A weigh conveyor receives correctly screened materials from the scalping screen. The weigh conveyor is 24 inches wide and 30 feet long, and feeds the drum slinger conveyor.

The equipment also includes a flights and slinger conveyor. The drum mixer is a parallel flow with propriety designed bolt in flights for maximum drying and mixing efficiency, lower stack temperature and reduced fuel consumption, according the contract.

“A material drum entry conveyor (slinger) allows for minimum heat loss associated with normal inlet chutes while slinging material onto intake flights,” the contract states. “The rapidly-moving slinger conveyor throws the aggregate into the drum to maximize smooth transition into the heating chamber.”

A drum mixer, 80 inches in diameter and 35 feet long, is chain-driven through a 100 horsepower motor while supported by four trunnions. Also included is a burner assembly, a knockout box and a bag house duct, a pollution control system, and a silo storage system designed to hold 100 tons. A caged safety ladder is provided to the roof, which will be provided with safety railing.

A computer operator’s console in a new portable control house is also included, with what the contract calls “top quality Siemens Brand Controls.” The contract also includes construction of a building that is 20 feet long and eight feet wide, with steel framing on 16-inch centers, an axle with tires, ball hitch, windows on three sides at the operator’s end, with insulation as well as heating, air conditioning and fluorescent lighting.

A silo truck load out system is also included.

Also included in the deal is an asphalt metering pump with computer automated asphalt blending maximizer and a 20,000 gallon liquid asphalt storage tank with a transfer/off loading pump.

Contract requirements

Under the contract, Ahern Industries responsibilities include:

• Start-up of the asphalt plant

• Labor to position the asphalt plant.

• Transportation fees from San Antonio

• Positioning all equipment, according to plans.

• Ahern Industries personnel to assist with on-the-ground loading of equipment and relocation of equipment.

• Industrial oil for gear reducers and bearings.

• A 5,000 gallon fuel tank with hoses and connections

• A small stove-size propane tank and regulator used as a burner starter.

• Copper posts positioned in the ground around the asphalt plant for electrical grounding and protection.

• Assembly of asphalt plant, labor, with Ahern Industries assisting in assembly of the asphalt plant.

• Asphalt lines and hoses supplied for the asphalt tank. Hot oil thermal for asphalt tank and and pumps/asphalt lines are to be provided by Ahern Industries.

• Certification of footings, installations, calibrations of scales as required.

• Labor supplied for installation of entire asphalt plant.

• Ahern Industries shall be responsible for the labor and materials for conveying the equipment from the point of delivery to the site of installation, and the placing of the equipment at the point setting, with the equipment to be set and leveled by Ahern Industries.

Contact James Beaty at

Contact James Beaty by email at

James Beaty is senior editor at the McAlester News-Capital