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LOWELL, VT - The trucking route for the wind turbine parts for the Lowell wind project has changed. A total of 126 oversized and over-weight trucks are expected to roll through Derby on their way to Interstate 91.
Parts of the turbines are now going to be brought in by rail to Island Pond. From there they will be transported along routes 105 and 5 through Charleston and Derby. The trucks will enter Interstate 91 in Derby and head south to Orleans, to Irasburg, and then Lowell, where Green Mountain Power (GMP) is constructing its wind farm.
The change in route will save many miles of Vermont roads, said Dotty Schnure with GMP.
The trucks with turbine parts will be driven a bit slower than the speed limit, but they will not be crawling, said GMP spokesperson Dave Coriell, the Kingdom Community Wind outreach manager.
The over-sized and overweight loads will have two police escorts and will use traffic control when negotiating turns. The main turns on the route with busy traffic will be one on Main Street in Derby to continue on to the Interstate and the turn onto the Interstate.
Traffic will be stopped for the turn on Main Street. Traffic control may also have to be used when entering the Interstate.
The trucks range in size, but the longest are about 203 feet, which will carry turbine blades. The heaviest trucks will carry the turbine bases, have a weight of approximately 267,000 pounds and are 180 feet long. The trucks have 13 axles, which help spread the weight out.
GMP has the okay from the Vermont Public Service Board, as well as all state permits required for the trucking route.
Up to six trucks a day are permitted Monday through Thursday from 8 A.M. to 11 A.M., and then from 1 P.M. until 4P.M, and Friday between 8 A.M. and 11 A.M. with no trucking on weekends or holidays. Trucks will begin rolling through mid-July through early September.
Coriell is reaching out to town officials to make sure any special town needs are addressed.
Some towns, including Derby, are concerned about interference with school busses in late August into September. Orleans officials have voiced concerns regarding the traffic holdups when Ethan Allen goes through a shift change at 3 P.M.
Coriell says that trucking will be coordinated to not interfere with school busses and Ethan Allen traffic. If a truck has a long line of vehicles behind it, they will pull over to let traffic through before reaching Main Street in Derby.
The trucking company will survey the roads before and after the trucks go through and are required to repair any damage to roads, signs, or mailboxes.
According to GMP, the Agency of Transportation is confident the roads can handle the oversized and overweight loads.
Forty two truck loads will also be coming in from Albany, NY, onto Interest 91, exiting in Orleans, through Irasburg, and to Lowell. The trucks from New York are scheduled for five trucks a week and up to two a day, which means that a truck may not be coming through every day of the week, Coriell explained.