SINCLAIR -- Sinclair Refinery's largest maintenance project in years is drawing to a close after about six weeks of work and has gone smoothly, a company official said.
The project brought nearly 3,000 workers to Carbon County at its peak, increasing the county's population by nearly 20 percent.
"People have said, including contractors, employees and the general public, that it has been the best turnaround they can recall," said Ryta Sondergard, Sinclair's community relations director.
"Of course there are always some bumps in the road, but this time around there were not nearly what there had been in the past," Sondergard said. "We were very fortunate that it was very organized and things went as smoothly as we could have hoped for considering the extent what the turnaround took care of."
She cited diligence to safety and an active outreach to the community as the primary contributing factors to a smooth turnaround.
"There were improved safety measures, of course on the part of the refinery, but also our contract workers were equally prepared in safety issues. We were fortunate to have some of the top companies here," Sondergard said.
Refinery officials said contract workers put in 1.8 million man-hours since June.
There were no reports of major safety issues or deaths at the refinery during the project.
Though Sinclair officials couldn't confirm when next year's turnaround would occur or how many workers would be called in, its timing and size historically depends on the extent of work to be done on any particular unit.
Tina Hill, director of the Old Frontier Prison, has attributed an increase in visitors to the tourist attraction this year to lower gas prices and the refinery project.
"I think July had a lot to do with the increase of workers at Sinclair," Hill said. "They all were new to town and looking for something to do when they finally had time off. They all seemed to be telling each other to come and take a tour."
The prison's July numbers were up by around 4 percent from last year. August's figures were up 14.4 percent.