C.J. Miller celebrates new Finksburg asphalt plant

The faint smell of barbecue and hot tar mixed in the air Wednesday at the new C.J. Miller LLC location in Finksburg.

The faint smell of barbecue and hot tar mixed in the air Wednesday at the C.J. Miller LLC location in Finksburg.

The barbecue from the catered lunch beneath a white pavilion and tar from the plant both simmered during an open house and ribbon-cutting event for the company's new asphalt plant. Even as Gator utility vehicles ferried guests from parking lot to pavilion, the four tall and gleaming new asphalt silos continued to dispense steaming doses of liquid road surface into chrome and red C.J. Miller dump trucks.


"The plant that was here was a late-1960s plant. It had come to the end of its life here at the plant, so it was time to modernize what we had," said Mike Utz, quality control manager for C.J. Miller. "It does everything better. It's going to create jobs in the county — here on the site as well at the construction and lay down sites."

What the plant does is take virgin stone from quarries in both Carroll County and Pennsylvania, then weigh it and meter it into a mixing drum, Utz said,.

"During the same time, we are taking recycled asphalt that has been reclaimed from Carroll County roads," he said. "It's also ran into the plant. … We mix virgin liquid asphalt with it and produce asphalt for your roads."

The new plant, one of two on the Finksburg site, can load two trucks with liquid asphalt at once, and does it all more efficiently than in the past, Utz said — 400 tons per hour.

"We are using variable frequency drives on almost this entire plant," he said, explaining that this means motors for the conveyor belts, for instance, will not run at 100 percent all day long but can be throttled back to save energy when not in high demand. It will save enough electricity, Utz said, "to power about 36 houses."

Those energy savings are important to C.J. Miller Vice President William Miller for a couple of reasons. First, because the company invested $9 million into building the new plant.

"The cost savings is immense," Miller said. "It uses 50 percent less energy. It's huge."

But Miller is also excited about lowering the environmental impact of the company's operations.

"It made a lot of sense for us right at this time, to get more efficient, more friendly," he said. "It's a better future for our kids."

The new plant will save resources and, Miller hopes, create jobs in Carroll County, but it will also benefit everyone who uses local roads regardless of their connections with the construction industry.

"We'll be able to get out and do the roads quicker, faster, get out of everybody's way so everybody can go back to their normal travel styles," he said. "Our production has more than doubled, so it's faster, quicker for everybody."