The Campbell County Commissioners on Tuesday said yes to the beginning phase of moving Bishop Road just southeast of the city limits for a wealth of near-future mining. It would pave the way for Eagle Specialties Materials LLC and Peabody Energy Corp. to mine roughly 74 million tons of stranded coal just off Highway 59.
With a unanimous decision, commissioners appointed Campbell County Director of Public Works Matt Olson and Campbell County Director of Road and Bridge Kevin Geis to serve as viewers of the road’s relocation. Once that is complete, moving Bishop Road south of its current location and south of the mining locations would go to a public hearing and then on to final approval.
“That is a lot of coal waiting to be mined,” Commissioner Rusty Bell said. “This was in the works back in 2014 but it all fell apart and the road was never moved. If it’s moved this time, it’s not likely to ever need to be relocated again.”
The relocated stretch of Bishop Road would intersect with Highway 59 near B&B Roustabout Services, about three miles from its current location. It would travel due east and reconnect at the sharp curve in Bishop Road close to Belle Ayr (see map). Approximately 4.60 miles of Bishop Road would be moved south of the mining locations.
CJ Fisk, land manager for Eagle Specialty Materials LLC, spoke to the commissioners about the relocation of the road that his firm hopes to begin in 2022. Once moved, the abandoned stretch of the current Bishop Road would be renamed Caballo Circle and become a dead-end street ending in a cul-de-sac.
Bids will soon be accepted for engineering firms for the project which needs to be completed by the end of 2023, Fisk noted.
Fisk said five electors within 25 miles of the road have all been notified and signed the petition for replacement of Bishop Road.
Commissioner Del Shelstad, who filled in as chairman for Bob Maul who was out with an illness, asked if there were any complaints or negative comments regarding the redirection of the road.
Only one citizen had a concern with the alteration.
“The only comment I got from one of the individuals was a concern that it would become a gravel road, but we would replacing a paved road with a paved road,” Fisk promised.