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THE FOSTERDALE OFFICE of Sullivan Materials is closed for the winter – and company officials say it won’t be reopening. Although staff will be keeping their jobs, the closure will have a major effect on local highway departments.

Sullivan Materials
To Close a Plant

By Jeanne Sager
FOSTERDALE — March 1, 2005 – One local business’ restructuring will have a ripple effect on road projects planned in half the county’s towns this summer.
Sullivan Materials, a division of Callanan Industries, won’t be reopening its Fosterdale plant this season – that’s “public knowledge,” according to General Manager Mike Hughson.
Hughson said the business, which owns another quarry in Bridgeville and an asphalt plant in Liberty, won’t be laying off any employees.
But the closure has local highway departments worried about a summer of shipping in blacktop from across the county.
“We always got our blacktop [in Fosterdale],” said Town of Fremont Highway Superintendent Martin Meyer. “We’re going to have to go to Liberty.
“It’ll cost more to go all the way over there.”
Town of Callicoon Highway Superintendent Jim Hess said his crews will just be heading in the other direction (Liberty rather than Fosterdale), and the cost of the materials themselves won’t change – bids are already in and approved for blacktopping.
But it will mean more man hours spent just waiting for the materials needed to resurface the roads.
“It’s going to translate into longer waiting lines for blacktop,” Hess said. “Sometimes we wait three or four hours as it is.
“The problem is, the county will be drawing from [Liberty], the other towns will be drawing from there, and we’ll be drawing from there.”
“Really, during the peak times, there isn’t enough blacktop produced in Sullivan County,” said Phil Nicoletti, deputy commissioner of the Sullivan County Department of Public Works. “Now they took another whole plant off-line for us – the wait at the other plants is going to be astronomical.”
That will translate into a variety of cost increases for the county, even on the average maintenance project.
“It’s going to add cost and time and manpower,” Nicoletti explained. “They’re going to have to run trucks an hour . . . it’s really worse for the small towns.
“We’re fortunate we have a fleet of trucks.”
Town of Delaware Highway Superintendent Bill Eschenberg said it’s never good to see a local business close – especially one within his own township.
“It isn’t a good thing to happen to a community,” he noted. “And we won’t have any place to get blacktop locally.
“But what are you going to do?”
Hess said he hopes the closure will inspire another business to open in its stead in western Sullivan.
Sullivan Materials has never had real competition in western Sullivan County, Hess said – Bernas’ Sullivan Structures in Masten Lake offers the same materials, but it’s never been cost-effective for the Town of Callicoon to travel that far.
Until then, Hess and his colleagues will still be patching roads, working through the inconvenience.
“We’ll do what we can,” Hess said. “There’s nothing much you can do – it’s a private company.”

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