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Barge proposal is a ‘no-go’ in W’md County

At its next regularly scheduled meeting on Nov. 13, the Westmoreland Board of Supervisors will receive a report from the Northern Neck Planning District Commission that will mean the end of a proposal to use barges to transport logs from Maryland to Westmoreland County to be milled at Potomac Supply in Kinsale.

The planning district commission was to have done a feasibility study in two phases. One report to determine whether the barge proposal was an economically viable method of transportation. If pursuit of barge transportation was feasible, then a second report was to have presented a plan for its implementation.


The report to be presented to the board of supervisors next week will be the final document, according to Westmoreland County Administrator Norm Risavi. “It was determined not to proceed to the second phase of the study due to the significant cost for the shoreline infrastructure that was needed to complete the process,” Risavi said.

“Basically the barging costs were less than trucking, but the infrastructure costs increased the total costs beyond the feasibility point,” Risavi said.

“One of our goals was to look at possible landing sites on both sides of the river,” Northern Neck Planning District Commission Executive Director Jerry Davis said. “When you factored in the cost of constructing the landings sites on both sides, it wasn’t feasible.”

Potomac Supply, a building supply manufacturer, has been hard hit by the current national economic struggles, and over the past several years has curtailed operations and lost more than 200 jobs.

The company has been based in Kinsale since 1948 and the Westmoreland Board of Supervisors was hopeful the state funded study would produce a way to reduce Potomac Supply’s costs of operation and rejuvenate the firm’s operations in the county.

“There just wasn’t any landing site for the barges that would work out financially,” Davis said. “We were tasked with finding a go or no-go conclusion and it was no-go.”

 

Richard Leggitt

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