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Coronavirus In Beaver County: Shell Asks For Waiver To Resume Construction At Cracker Plant, Wants 400-800 Workers On Site

BEAVER COUNTY (KDKA) -- Shell's construction company has petitioned for a waiver to resume construction at the Beaver County cracker plant amid the coronavirus pandemic.

On March 18, Union officials say Shell temporarily shut down construction at the plant.

Before the halt, the site was teeming with 7,000 workers rushing to bring the plant to completion.

Workers at the construction site reported a lack of progress on a laundry list of concerns related to the potential spread of COVID-19.

Since then, about 300 contract workers have been busy cleaning and sanitizing the worksite and buses, and Beaver County Building Trades leader Larry Nelson says they've done a good job.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

"They're working on disinfecting the buses, disinfecting all the conference rooms, all the trailers, all the bathrooms, replaced all the portajohns, they have hand sanitizer," Nelson said.

Shell's construction company has petitioned Governor Tom Wolf for a waiver to his construction ban, allowing them to resume work at the site on a smaller scale.

The plan calls for between 400-800 workers to begin limited activities under safeguards like temperature readings and work distancing.

Nelson is in favor.

"If they can maintain everything under the CDC guidelines ... then I'm in favor of them bringing people back," Nelson said.

But Beaver County Commission Chairman Dan Camp is not in favor of reopening and believes construction sites should remain closed for the duration of this health crisis.

"We have to make sure something happenings here in Beaver County, we can accommodate that," Camp said.

"If we put 1,000 workers back on the job site, we don't know what can happen," Camp added.

Shell is proposing a slow ramping up of construction at the site.

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