MALONE – Possible wear and tear from heavy loads being trucked over Franklin County roads to reach the site of wind-farm projects under construction in Clinton County is beginning to concern Highway Superintendent Jeff Smith.
But an official with Noble Environmental Power, which is building the wind-tower projects in the towns of Clinton and Ellenburg, said the company will work with the county to stave off any problems and reach an agreement.
Smith told legislators this week he has limited funds to make repairs and provide added maintenance to the roads for which he is responsible. He wanted them to know he intended to speak with Noble officials.
He said County Road 24 also known as Brainardsville Road is frequently used by heavy trucks on their way to Clinton County.
Smith said a federal grant completely repaired the road and the bridges on it three years ago and that there would be no more federal money available to fix it if it fell under disrepair quickly.
The trucks are also using Whippleville Road to get to U.S. Route 11 and points beyond.
Smith said one county option might be to post county roads to local track traffic only and that would force the trucks and tractor trailers to avoid county roads and use state ones instead.
He said it would take them longer to get where they are going, but county roads would be spared the wear and tear.
Lewis County adopted a road-use policy, and Smith has a copy to use as a model in case Franklin County needs one.
Shortly after Smith spoke with the board, Noble Environmental representatives Mark Lyons and Dan Boyd appeared before the legislators to discuss their development plans in the towns of Chateaugay and Bellmont.
During the discussion, Lyons was questioned about Smith’s concerns and possible road damage.
“It’s a kind of process you have to feel your way through,” he said, adding that it is difficult to determine what is ordinary construction traffic, what damage can be tracked and what can be written in a formal agreement.
But the company is willing to come to an agreement.
And, before the Chateaugay and Bellmont projects raise a similar question, Lyons assured the legislators that the company sets aside a financial bond to pay for road repairs.
Noble will travel the roads with local representatives, document and photograph the roads’ pre-construction condition and return them to that level at the end of the construction phase, he said.
By Denise A. Raymo
22 July 2007
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