BLOOMINGTON – Township roads could be upgraded as part of a massive wind farm project proposed for parts of McLean and Woodford counties.
Bloomington attorney Robert Lenz, who represents road commissioners in four McLean County townships where Invenergy Wind LLC is trying to install a wind farm, testified Monday that he is negotiating with Invenergy to upgrade roads damaged during construction.
“It will be a significant improvement over the conditions that now exist,” Lenz said. “They will all have a greater base than they have now, they’ll have a better surface, and they’ll be wider.”
The testimony was part of the fourth day of public hearings before the McLean County Zoning Board of Appeals on whether to recommend a special-use permit for the White Oak Wind Energy Center that will span 12,000 acres near Carlock.
Lenz said many of the township roads that will be used by heavy trucks to haul turbines and construction equipment are not up to Illinois Department of Transportation standards.
He is negotiating on behalf of the road commissioners to guarantee Invenergy will not only repair the roads that are damaged by the heavy equipment but rebuild them to specifications required by IDOT. The negotiations may not be complete until February, he said.
“The weight of those trucks carrying these incredible loads is remarkable,” he Lenz said. “The cost would be, in White Oak Township alone, would be over $1 million.”
Lenz also said the work likely would be performed by local contractors, though Invenergy would decide to whom to award reconstruction contracts.
The board on Monday also heard the final testimony of a noise expert hired by Invenergy. Timothy Casey of HDR Engineering in Minnesota said the proposed project would not raise ambient noise levels in the area.
“Both daytime and nighttime background noise levels (in the Carlock area) were dominated by natural sources,” he said. “The increase of turbine noise . . . will not increase overall noise levels.”
The hearing will continue at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the McLean County Board Room at the Government Center, 115 E. Washington St., in Bloomington.
By Matt Buedel
Of The Journal Star
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