Big trucks carrying thousands of pounds on dirt roads can cause big road problems, as Cohocton highway Superintendent Tom Simons knows well.
At this week’s Cohocton town board meeting, several residents complained about the conditions of the roads to Simons.
Repairing the roads, however, has been an on-going process for wind turbine contractor Mortenson Construction, Simons said. Mortenson is the main contractor on the 50-turbine industrial wind development on Pine, Lent and Dutch hills by UPC Wind Management.
“The windmill people are up there whenever there’s a problem,” he said.
Simons said most of the times Mortenson is called after he drives the roads himself to check for problem areas.
“I drive the roads and when I see it is impassable to the public, I give them a call,” Simons said. “I really haven’t had many complaints (from the public).”
In the last few weeks, however, the roads deteriorated after Mortenson’s grader was ticketed for operating without a license plate.
Simons added at the town board meeting it was mistakenly reported the town grader was out of commission.
“I received a bunch of calls over that one,” he said.
According to Cohocton Wind Watch leader Jim Hall, “the roads are just unpassable.”
Hall, who lives on Pine Hill, said his vehicle had to visit the repair shop due to damage from the road conditions.
“It wasn’t that much,” he said, adding a plastic radiator shield was ripped off by the uneven road surface and a passing truck kicked up a rock into his windshield.
Hall, who drives a all-wheel drive Subaru, said it takes a lot for his vehicle to get hung up.
“That’s a pretty bad road,” he said. “It’s not just us (complaining), it’s everybody up here.”
But, bad roads from big trucks was to be expected, Hall added.
“But that comes with the territory,” he said. “I’m a little more lenient about detrimental conditions from construction.”
And as long as UPC keeps its side of a bargain with the town and county and repairs the roads after they are done, it will be OK.
The problem, according to Hall, is the trucks driving over the roadways in the late winter months, adding a lack of ground frost means the roads become almost impassable after a truck goes through.
“They’re flagrantly disregarding the agreement,” Hall said.
According to Simons, UPC has suspended hauling more turbine parts until the weather improves.
UPC Public Outreach Coordinator Rick Towner did not immediately return a call asking for comment.
By Bob Clark
23 March 2008
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