Costs are mounting for the owners of Morenci’s Roth Fabricating as problems with truck drivers serving Palm Plastics continue.
City council members became aware of the problem in September when Roth co-owner Shane Sarnac explained that semis are being driven east on Skyline Drive in the industrial park as truckers expect to find a place to turn around before taking on loads at Palm Plastics.
Truckers are using Roth’s property at the end of Skyline to turn.
As of Monday, Roth has spent $2,500 to repair a pickup truck that was damaged by a semi and $3,250 to repair another company truck.
Their mailbox was destroyed, along with poles that were erected to block traffic. The company has also paid for reseeding grass where trucks have driven.
Roth owners are also concerned about the gravel drive that wasn’t constructed to support the weight of semis and trailers.
Sarnac said he wasn’t attending to the council meeting to blame Palm Plastics because he understands that Palm has no control over the truckers.
Sarnac suggested that the owner of the Palm Plastics property could install a drive along the east side of the building to create a loop for truckers. As an alternative, the city could construct a turn-around loop at the east end of Skyline.
The cost of looping around Palm would include an expensive curb cut, said Terry Brandl, Palm Plastics CEO, and the property owner prefers to amortize the cost into Palm’s lease payment.
Brandl asked if there was any other place in Morenci to stage trailers, where a drive comes in with an empty trailer and picks up a full one.
Keith Pennington, who still served as a council member at the meeting, said he didn’t believe the city had an obligation to provide a staging area.
Sarnac suggested construction of a gravel road by the city.
“It’s not the best thing,” he said, “but it might alleviate some problems. I just want council to understand there are issues here. We’re inviting businesses in, but then putting them in a corner.”
City supervisor Barney Vanderpool noted that installing a temporary road would leave the city with an expensive curb cuts in the industrial park. The road would later have to be taken out to install utilities and drainage.
Morenci police have ticketed illegally parked trailers on Skyline and no trailers were on the road Monday. Police chief Larry Weeks hopes that the visibility created by the absence of trailers will alert truckers that no turn-around is available at the east end of the road.
City administrator-clerk Renée Schroeder contacted state development officials about a grant for construction of a turn-around. She learned that funds would not be given because Palm has not added jobs or equipment at the site. When financing was unavailable for expansion in Morenci, the company moved into a vacant building in Bowling Green, Ohio.