The prospect of truck traffic carrying wind turbine parts through the village of Barton has prompted officials here to request details on plans for building the proposed Sheffield Wind Farm.
“We had been hearing rumors they (UPC Wind Management) were coming up Route 16 (and) turning on to Duck Pond Road,” to deliver construction materials, said Brian Hanson, Barton Village supervisor, who oversees electricity, water, sewer and roads for village residents. “I found out from other parties, then we requested a meeting with them.”
UPC Wind Management of Newton, Mass. filed an application with the Public Service Board in February for permission to construct a 26-turbine wind farm in Sheffield and Sutton, and planned to transport materials through Sheffield. Last month, the company submitted a revised plan cutting out ten turbines to address public concerns, company spokesmen said. Since they eliminated all the turbines planned for Hardscrabble Mountain in Sheffield, it made more sense to transport wind towers through Barton Village, said Erik Filkorn on behalf of UPC Monday.
Barton’s Hanson, who became village supervisor about a month ago after serving as road commissioner, said he has gotten quite a few calls in recent weeks from citizens seeking information about the utility-scale wind project. Many villagers received information from an outside group, he said.
Filkorn said Monday he plans to deliver revised transportation plans and other project specifics to Barton officials today in preparation for an upcoming public hearing.
“There is a lot of misinformation going on and people need to know what is going on,” Hanson said. “This meeting should answer anyone’s questions.”
The meeting is set for Monday Nov. 13 at 7 p.m., at the Barton Memorial Building.
Hanson said as village supervisor he cares about the impact on the budget, roads and safety. Over 100 large tractor trailers turning on Main Street and on to Duck Pond Road are planned overall; each of the 16 turbines will require ten truck runs through town, explained Filkorn.
“Specialized tractor trailer trucks” will transport 160 sections of the turbines on a flatbed including one truck for each of the 48 turbine blades, at around 150-feet long each, Filkorn said.
“Each tower is coming up in a bunch of pieces ranging from 33 to 90 feet long,” Filkorn said. The planned route is to come up Interstate 91, get off Exit 25, go north on Route 16 to Duck Pond Road, Filkorn said. Duck Pond Road is a narrow gravel road requiring some culvert work and widening, UPC officials said.
Filkorn said Barton would benefit from the added traffic because, “They are going to be selling a lot of sandwiches to truckers.”
The view of the project from Barton’s Crystal Lake beach has been raised as an issue. Barton officials said the beach view is a consideration, but Hanson did not sound overly alarmed.
“There is a state park there (with a) village beach,” but from what he learned from UPC they downsized the project, he said, and “you will see even less of the windmills.”
The project would generate 40 megawatts at maximum capacity and provide 50 to 75 jobs during the construction phase, Filkorn said. Filkorn also said Vermont Technical College in Randolph has been approached about using the wind project as job training.
Whether Barton Electric customers benefit from power generated by the wind farm depends on the Vermont Public Power Supply Authority, of which Barton Electric, a municipally-owned utility, is a member.
Sutton voters, who opposed the project at town meeting, will decide whether to approve funds for a lawyer to fight the wind farm at the Sutton School Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. Also on Nov. 8 at 7 p.m., the Public Service Board is holding a public hearing at the Miller’s Run School on the revised plan in Sheffield, where voters supported the project in an opinion vote.
By Carla Occaso Times Argus Staff
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