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Granite Construction’s Solari Sand & Gravel ready to run rock

By |  November 12, 2020
Photo: Superior Industries

Granite Construction’s Solari Sand & Gravel sits on more than 700 acres in Bakersfield, California. Photo: Superior Industries

As any aggregate producer knows, the process of planning, permitting and opening a new operation is no simple task. The process can often be arduous, presenting challenges from a number of different fronts.

But the payoff is worth the struggle.

So says Granite Construction’s Tim Findley, plants project manager for the area of Bakersfield, California, whose Solari Sand & Gravel operation is set to open this fall. Findley began the design phase for Solari – which is named after Richard Solari, the late Granite president and CEO – in 2006. 

“Most of my career, I’ve been working on this single project, along with everything else I had to do in the process,” Findley says.

Permitting processes and compromises with the California Department of Fish & Wildlife were just some of the challenges Findley and Granite Construction faced over the years, before the 700-plus-acre property officially broke ground in September 2019.

Findley says he and his company proactively prepared as much as they could, compiling environmental studies, traffic studies, rock studies and others in hopes of simplifying the permitting process.

“Granite has permitted several plants in California, so we had an idea of what we were getting into going in,” Findley says. “Permitting a plant in Kern County is said to be easier than most and, as you can see, it still took several years.”

Partnering for success

Granite Construction's Tim Findley

Findley

Once the heavy lifting of permitting the plant was largely behind him, Findley sank his teeth into a much more savory task: designing and planning the plant.

“I used AggFlow to determine what size of equipment – crushers, screens, washing equipment – we were going to need, and then went to several manufacturers with a bid proposal package,” Findley says. “[I] said: ‘Here’s what we need, give us a proposal for supplying this equipment.’”

Findley ultimately decided on a mix of new and used equipment from a range of manufacturers, with Superior Industries supplying the majority of the equipment. 

Granite and Superior partnered in early 2016 through Aggregate Crusher Specialist (ACS), a local dealer in Lake Elsinore, California. According to Findley, ACS was a key factor in Granite’s equipment decision-making.

“A lot of the Superior equipment is from a vendor we know and trust and is extremely helpful any time we need them,” Findley says of ACS. “That’s one of the reasons we went with Superior.”

According to Findley, Solari Sand & Gravel features a new Superior twin 44-in. blade mill. The majority of conveyors and stackers are also new from Superior, which designed a number of structures on-site.

Zach Mentz

About the Author:

Zach Mentz is editor in chief of Portable Plants magazine and managing editor for Pit & Quarry magazine. Zach is a graduate of the Tim Russert Department of Communications at John Carroll University. His previous experience also includes time spent in the Cleveland Indians communications department.

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