BARTON – Workers at the Sheffield wind turbine construction site are speeding up and down Duck Pond Road, a dirt road that soon will be used to haul over-sized loads of wind turbine parts.
Neighbors on the road told the Barton Board of Selectmen Monday that they have seen pickups going more than 60 mph at about 6 a.m. up Duck Pond Road in Barton to the Sheffield site and returning back to town about 12 hours later.
“I know at least two workers were speeding,” resident Brian Hanson said.
Fellow resident Richard Clay said the pickups were going so fast he could not get complete license plate information.
The speed limit on Barton town secondary and dirt roads is 50 mph, Selectman Bob Croteau said. The town has studied road speeds but opted in the past not to reduce speed limits, he said.
The idea that anyone is allowed to go 50 mph on dirt roads bothered Selectmen Patsy Tompkins and Larry Scarpa.
They overrode Croteau and his reservations to vote 2-1 in favor of changing town speed limits on secondary and dirt roads to 35 mph.
Croteau said the change wouldn’t go into effect soon enough to have any effect on anyone currently using Duck Pond Road to drive to work at the Sheffield wind site.
Selectmen also asked Orleans County Sheriff Kirk Martin to step up enforcement on the road.
First Wind is preparing sites on Sheffield Mountain for 16 industrial-grade wind turbines. Sometime this month, trucks with oversize loads will be winding their way through Barton and Duck Pond Road on the way to the site in Sheffield.
Hanson and Clay gave Martin descriptions and partial plate descriptions for the three different pickups that they had seen speeding on their road.
Martin said he intended to go up the road to the work site and speak with both supervisors and the owner of one yellow pickup that the residents were able to clearly identify.
“I can go up and track that vehicle down and find out who is driving it,” Martin said. The problem will probably stop, Martin said, “If I show up on the job site and talk to the boss and pick that guy out.”
Meanwhile, Tompkins said that she spoke to the manager of the Sheffield wind work site, who told her that he had heard about the speeding problems and would speak to the workers.
“The project has just started and already we have problems?” Scarpa said.
Croteau warned that it’s presumptuous to assume that the speeders all work at the wind site.
He reminded Hanson that past speeding problems on other roads were resolved when sheriff’s deputies stepped up tickets. And one of the people complaining about speeding was one of the first to get a ticket, Croteau said.
Scarpa and Tompkins said that the town has a broader speeding problem than just on Duck Pond Road.
“We have a problem on May Pond Road,” Tompkins said.
Scarpa said the town needs to act.
“I think we should take action and set a speed limit,” Scarpa said.
Croteau said he could not vote to change the speed limit. He said he would vote for a traffic study.
The new speed limits require public warning period and a traffic study, Croteau said.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding