Helicopter to apply dust binder in Open Cut on Oct. 19

Update: The helicopter crew successfully applied 8,000 gallons of dust-binding material called Dustbind Plus mixed with water on the rock from the LBNF/DUNE project in the Open Cut. We will continue to closely monitor the effectiveness of our dust mitigation measures.

Flights will prompt temporary, short closures of Route 85 and the Homestake Trail during operations.

Timberline Helicopters, an experienced company in large-scale, heavy-lift external load projects, will be applying a dust-binding material called Dustbind Plus to the excavated rock in the Open Cut from the LBNF/DUNE project.  The application by the helicopter is an additional step to reduce the dust carried out of the pit by strong winds. 

Due to the large, heavy bucket the helicopter will be carrying, crews on the ground will periodically close Route 85 to traffic as a safety precaution when the helicopter crosses the road for reloading. Each closure is expected to last between two to five minutes. In addition, ground personnel will also close the Homestake Trail for the full duration of the helicopter flights.

The flights are scheduled to take place on Oct. 19, and project leaders expect the flights to last four to five hours while covering an area of approximately 4 acres in the Open Cut. The final date and time of the flight will be posted to this webpage.

Updates on the helicopter flight will also be be shared via Twitter (@LBNFacility) and Facebook (Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility). Questions can be submitted to neighbors-sd@fnal.gov

On June 22-24, drone flights were completed that applied an initial layer of dust-binding material to the rock pile of the 4-acre area, covering rock excavated from the LBNF project.

Rock has been deposited in the Open Cut since 2021 as part of the excavation for the Long-Baseline Neutrino Facility. About 800,000 tons of rock will be excavated from a mile underground at the Sanford Underground Research Facility to create three large caverns and drifts for the international Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment. More than 40 percent of the excavation is complete.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory is the host laboratory for LBNF/DUNE. More than 1,000 scientists and engineers from over 35 countries are working on LBNF/DUNE to understand the role that elementary particles called neutrino play in the universe. More information about the project is available on the LBNF/DUNE website.