Western Sugar officials have been given until the end of the day Friday to reopen a section of East Overland that has been closed for over a month due to construction at the factory.
The Scotts Bluff County Commissioners Monday approved a deadline for opening the road after expressing their displeasure with a lack of communication from the company representatives. The commissioners had approved closing the road until September 15th for safety reasons but the closure had been extended by the company without any official contact with the county.
Father John Sorensen with Our lady of Guadalupe Church told the board the closure was impacting the southeast Scottsbluff neighborhood and East Overland merchants and Western Sugar needed to be told their unilateral action was not appropriate.
Father Sorensen said the deadline “was a fair outcome” but Western Sugar needed to be told “there is a rule of law and you need to obey the law and procedures.”
Western Sugar Ag Manager Jerry Darnell says the company can meet the deadline to get the road open again and said the additional time to keep it closed is for safety reasons. Darnell says they still need to get 150 people removed from the site and clean up the road before it can open again.
Darnell says the company has been running each new section of the factory “a little bit at a time” while solving any issues. Darnell says they are now making white sugar and should be ramping up the slicing operation.