NEW RICHMOND - Drivers traveling along U.S. 52 through New Richmond should expect intermittent delays starting Saturday morning.
A portion of U.S. 52 in front of the closed Duke Energy W.C. Beckjord power plant will be closed for up to 15 minutes at a time starting at 5 a.m. Saturday. The 15-minute closures will run through 8 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, according ot the Ohio Department of Transportation. The closures are necessary for Duke Energy to remove a power line connected to the former power plant to an adjacent substation. The closures were originally scheduled for Monday. The weekend work weather permitting.
Area residents recently received a notice about the closures, which is part of Duke Energy's work to eventually tear down the former power plant, which it closed in 2014.
Decisions are still to be made about that project's timeline, and scope of work - which includes what to do with four unlined ponds that contain billions of pounds of coal ash.
The ponds are located right along the Ohio River, and have a history of leaking. In the 1990s, Clermont County had to close a public water well after it was discovered that one of the ponds was leaking high levels of sulfates.
Officials with Duke Energy said they're still conducting engineering and other studies to determine how best to close the ponds. Their plans will be submitted to the Ohio EPA. Clermont County has hired the Dayton-based environmental law firm Kegler Brown to assist them in their talks with Duke Energy over the plant's closures.
Meanwhile, Duke Energy says the impact to traffic along U.S. 52 should be complete by Nov. 7. All work to remove the power line is expected to finished by Nov. 22.