The first step toward upgrading the wind farm site off Westminster Road is almost complete with several improvements made to the access road known as Stage Coach Trail.
Work started on the road early this month and should be finished by the end of this week, according to Wachusett Mountain State Reservation Supervisor Dwayne Ericson.
“The quality of the work is exceptional,” Ericson said at the July 18 Wachusett Mountain Advisory Council meeting, noting the area received a half inch of rain in 20 minutes but nothing on the site had moved. “They have the right contractor and a good design.”
The Princeton Municipal Light Department hired Lumus Construction & Facilities Services of Woburn to work in conjunction with Methuen Construction for the site work and to build foundations in preparation for the two new 65-70-meter tubular steel towers with 1,500-1,650k wind turbines expected to arrive next summer.
Lumus does much work with various federal agencies, including the National Parks Service, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense and the General Services Administration.
The company has received national recognition for its work on projects such as the Statue of Liberty and Bunker Monument, USS Constitution and Museum and reconstruction of the Old North Bridge in Concord.
Methuen Construction, based in Salem, N.H. has been involved with several wind energy generation projects throughout the world and is an experienced contractor in the design and construction of various types of complex site and foundation work.
Lumus will act as the prime contractor.
According to PMLD manager Jonathan Fitch, Methuen has put down three and a half inches of new gravel on the access road. They have spread and compacted it to hold the weight of the vehicles that will bring in the parts to the large crane that will be assembled on the wind site when work is ready to proceed with the installation of the towers and turbines.
New drainage and one new culvert have been installed and the tree trimming is done, said Fitch. A 40-foot section of stone wall at the top of the access road has been removed in sections and stored on site for restoration at the end of the project. Lumus had drawings done and photographs taken of the wall and marked the stones before they were moved, he said.
“They’ve done an outstanding job documenting the wall as it was taken apart. It was very time consuming, but it was done right and just the way they said it would,” said light commissioner Brad Hubbard. “Lumus and Methuen are working great together and are very conscientious and careful of everything they do.”
Once the road is finished site work will begin. Areas will be cut and filled in preparation for the turbine assembly pads, said Fitch. Then, conduit and telecommunication equipment for each turbine will be installed.
“We’re hoping to be finished up by October 1 then it’s just a matter of waiting for the turbines to be delivered next summer,” said Fitch.
At the July 18 WMAC meeting, Ericson said that signs would be posted advising hikers of construction. As part of the agreement with the state for their continued use of the access road, the light department will install a small parking lot at the bottom of the road to provide some off-street parking for hikers.
“Electrical service to the education environmental center on Mountain Road has already been done and Jon and I are working on a format for the interpretive kiosks that will be a model for use in the rest of the reservation,” said Ericson.
By Phyllis Booth
26 July 2007
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