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Barton extends permits to First Wind's haulers  

Credit:  Jennifer Hersey Cleveland, Staff Writer, Caledonian-Record, via: energizevermont.org ~~

BARTON – Representatives of First Wind RMT Inc., and Southern Tier Express met with selectmen Monday night to discuss the loads of wind tower parts that will be trucked through the town for the Sheffield wind project.

Selectmen granted the overweight permits necessary to obtain state permits for the trucking of 134 large loads on Duck Pond Road.

“It’s a pretty rugged road,” Selectman Robert Croteau said. However, selectmen believe it is important that the haulers meet with road foreman Clem Landry to look over the site’s weak links before loads go through.

If the road is harmed, there are “a lot of people who are going to yowl,” Croteau said. The town’s road crew will be scrambling to repair any problem areas, he said.

The 16-turbine 40-megawatt project is expected to create enough electricity to power about 15,000 homes annually, according to an e-mail from First Wind spokesman John Lamontagne. Power will be sold to Washington Electric, Burlington Electric and Vermont Electric cooperatives.

Josh Bagnato, First Wind’s manager of environmental compliance; Rick Zimmerman, senior project manager for RMT; and John Mills, owner and president of Southern Tier Express provided the selectmen with copies of insurance policies for each of the six haulers for the project.

Bruce Day of TransGroup, which is managing the transportation of larger loads, was unable to make the meeting Monday night because his flight had been canceled.

A site visit Monday morning with Day and Landry did not take place for reasons unknown.

The large crane and the transformer will be the largest loads to go through town. Those shipments will take place between May 27 and June 2, Zimmerman said.

Zimmerman couldn’t be sure which days the loads would be taken through because of unanticipated delays, border stops and inspections and weather-related problems.

Bagnato said the selectmen would get 48 hours notice before a load was brought through town.

“It’s just as big an advantage for us to know where our trucks are as it is to the town,” Zimmerman said.

Mills said he needed to be permitted for up to 10 axles and nearly 200,000 pounds.

“If we survive the crane, we should be in good shape,” Croteau said.

For larger loads, police forces will be used for traffic control, Mills said.

Bagnato assured selectmen that emergency vehicles will be able to get through the road if needed.

With no blank permit sheets available, a representative was to drop off permit sheets with Barton Town Clerk Grace Mason sometime Tuesday.

At a cost of $5 a permit, Bagnato said to Mills, “Bring your checkbook, John.”

Lamontagne’s e-mail said construction on the project began in October, including creating some roads and clearing areas for turbine pads. Work stopped during the winter, and resumed in March or April. Concrete for the turbines is being poured, and turbines will be delivered to the site beginning next month. Erection of the towers will begin shortly thereafter.

“If all goes well, we hope to have the project online and operating by the end of the year,” Lamontagne wrote in his e-mail.

Source:  Jennifer Hersey Cleveland, Staff Writer, Caledonian-Record, via: energizevermont.org

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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