Precast Tunnel for Underground Grain Conveyor System

Deerfield Ag Services, Massillon Energy and Technology Park, and the Republic Short Line Railroad formed a partnership to create an infrastructure to streamline the sorting and distributing of grain in Massillon, Ohio. The project is an underground conveyor system. By moving the process underground, railway delays caused by crop processing activities are eliminated. The end result is a more efficient and safe operation which also gives Deerfield Ag Services a competitive edge in the Ohio and global market.

Trucks filled with soybeans and corn from northeastern Ohio can dump loads into a pit at the Deerfield Ag terminal.  The conveyor system moves the grain through a tunnel built of box culverts.  The 150′ (10’x12′ sections) culvert ties into two 16’x12′ hopper vaults.  36 pieces, some of which weigh as much as 75,000 pounds, were set in two days.  With top slabs of 22 inches and bottom slabs of 20 inches, the heavy duty pieces provide enough strength to carry tractor trailers and trains over the top.  Precast concrete was chosen for this project to minimize the downtime onsite for ongoing operations.  The difficulties of the project revolved around rail loading, pit vault construction, having very little room between tracks, and the precision necessary due to the conveyor system.

The efficiencies created due to the tunnel system have already had a positive impact on the agricultural market in Ohio.  Produce now moves from field to rail car within minutes.  By safely reducing congestion and keeping farming trucks away from the area, the tunnel and conveyor system allows the park to expand by adding more tracks and eventually toward providing intermodal rail traffic.

The precast box culvert sections were supplied by Lindsay Precast.  Pretek Group provided the structural engineering for the precast and cast in place tunnel.

Photo courtesy of Lindsay Precast



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