Brewer News

Cianbro module facility site plan approved

8.08.2007 – The Planning Board unanimously approved site plans on Monday for Cianbro’s new module manufacturing facility at the defunct Eastern Fine Paper Co. mill site that is expected to create 500 or more well-paying jobs.

The panel’s approval is a huge step in the massive multimillion-dollar undertaking to change the 100-plus-year-old industrial site, which has sat vacant since the mill closed in 2004, into a working and tax producing facility again.

“We look at it as an opportunity … to put it back into production,” Tom Ruksznis, facility manager with Cianbro, told the board.

Cianbro Corp., a Pittsfield construction company known around the state and the nation, first proposed the Brewer Module Facility project in June.

The site plans include the construction of an approximately 250,000-square foot structural pad and improvements to the site to produce the modules, and a deep water dock to bring in supplies and ship out the prefabricated, self-standing building skeletons.

The modules will be built at the 41-acre South Main Street site beginning early next year and will be moved by barge to industrial clients elsewhere.

The 500 or so welders, electricians, pipe fitters, millwrights and other skilled workers will work “80 percent during the day and 20 percent at night,” Dan Riley, senior project manager for Sebago Technics, said.

The site plans include conditions to maintain low noise levels and downward casting lights, to accommodate abutters, and eight other minor conditions.

Three project waivers also were approved Monday that allow the company to forgo a traffic study, since the traffic to the former mill and Brewer Module Facility are similar in nature; identifying trees that exceed 10-inches in diameter and another that allows the company to provide additional screening in the form of shrubbery around the property.

The modules have piping, electrical and mechanical components pre-installed and can be as large as five stories high and weigh up to 1,200 tons. The building frameworks are joined together when they arrive at their destinations.

“On average, there will be six of these modules” on each barge, Ruksznis said.

Cianbro is in the process of finalizing a 58-module contract with an unnamed out-of-state company, that is expected to take workers 18 months to manufacture, he said.

Local residents at the meeting expressed concerns about dredging the river to accommodate the deep-water dock and water or sewer issues. City Engineer Frank Higgins said such concerns are unfounded. The amount of dredging has not yet been determined, he said, adding that the company is working to avoid endangered salmon and sturgeon populations.

Board members expressed concerns about traffic, flooding, state and federal permits and the status of the site’s historical significance.

Maine Historic Preservation is requesting that photo documentation is conducted before the buildings are removed, Riley said.

Cianbro expects to begin demolition in October.

A copyright article from the Bangor Daily News, Tuesday, August 7, 2007.