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Crews say moving turbines can be dangerous  

As motorists travel along Interstate 20, they usually come across the huge turbines that travel the long stretch of road.

But to move a turbine on a trailer can be dangerous and many obstacles motorists take for granted come into play. Crews consist of three escorts and three truck drivers. They pick up the blades at a port in Corpus Christi and bring them to the area. Many times, these escorts can be up to 11 hours in length. After spending the night on site, they unload the blades and return to the original site to begin another trip.“We’re pretty much like a family,” escort Cindy Hawley said. “We all watch out for each other.”

Hawley is the lead escort for the oversized blades. She and her husband, John, have been in the group since February. John drives one of the trucks that haul the blades.

The escorts play a very important role.

“I’m like their first set of eyes,” Cindy Hawley said.

Cindy travels ahead of the group and informs them of any oncoming dangers as well as reports on road conditions.

Hawley said each truck is equipped with a remote control that guides the rear wheels of the trailer and each driver is the one that controls the turns using the control.

The truck and trailer are huge as you walk from one end to the other.
According to truck driver Mike Zick, each blade is 170 feet long from the front of our truck to the tip of the blade.

“One of the axles on the back of the truck stirs,” he said.

“It (the remote control) allows us to stir from up to 50 feet away. We can control it from the escort car, or we can control it from the cab of the truck.”

“Trucks pulling the tower sections have someone riding on the trailer that controls the rear axles,” Hawley said.

When traveling, motorists seeing one of these trucks should use caution.

“Safety is always first,” Zick said.

“That’s why we have the escorts. That’s why we have the flashing lights to let them know that we have the oversized loads.

“Please give us a little extra time. We are safety first persons.”

by Lorena Turnbow

Sweetwater Reporter

7 August 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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