Trucks coming through town as a result of detour, and piling station is closed due to a project as well

    As far as the calendar and harvest schedule go, we’re in the midst of a typical American Crystal Sugar pre-pile sugar beet campaign, with farmers/shareholders bringing in enough beets from their fields to get the factories in Crookston and elsewhere in the region up and running in advance of the full hauling campaign, which will commence, as usual, on Oct. 1.

    But nothing else about the 2018 pre-pile in Crookston is typical. The increased visibility of trucks loaded with sugar beets coming through downtown Crookston has prompted some people to wonder if the full hauling campaign has commenced several weeks earlier than usual this year.

    It has not, Jeff Schweitzer, American Crystal Sugar public relations manager, confirmed to the Times. The current truck traffic is due solely to the pre-pile harvest, he said.

    “Since it is pre-pile, we have set operating hours and do not accept beets 24 hours a day,” Schweitzer explained. “Some shareholders are ahead of our operating hours with their beet deliveries.”

    Trucks loaded with sugar beets are coming through town because the Highway 75 bypass bridge is closed until the end of September due to a repair/improvement project totaling just under $4 million. Traffic is being detoured through downtown Crookston as a result.

    Things aren’t typical at Crookston’s American Crystal Sugar factory, either. A project at the piling station south of the factory on the south side of Polk County Highway 9 is closed while a repair/improvement project largely involving concrete work is in process. As a result, loaded trucks at the busiest times are forming two lines along the north shoulder of Highway 9, waiting to unload at the factory instead of the piling station across the road, and Thursday morning they were lined up that way all the to the intersection of Highway 75, with the line spilling onto the Highway 75 shoulder as well. A few loaded trucks also were waiting for their turn to unload on the north shoulder of Highway 9.

    As far as the bypass bridge project schedule goes, if things remain on track, the bridge should be reopened to traffic right around the time the full beet hauling campaign begins Oct. 1.