Trucks rumbling through Penshurst to collect scoria for use at the Macarthur wind farm have raised the ire of residents.
Locals are worried the vehicles – which visit the Mount Rouse quarry six days a week – pose a safety risk and are causing extensive damage to roads.
Resident Gordon McGlashan said trucks often arrived in Penshurst before dawn and were still carting loads after dark.
“The only access through to the quarry is going down private streets, most of which do not have footpaths,” he said.
“The lighting, like most country towns, is fairly limited.”
It is understood the trucks have been visiting the quarry for about a month and take scoria to the wind farm site for use in gravel access roads.
Typically they use Cobb, Cox and Martin streets.
Mr McGlashan said he had counted 10 large trucks passing through Penshurst on a single day but suspected the actual figure could be higher.
“The sheer weight of the vehicles is breaking up the bitumen surface, causing crazy cracking of the pavement,” he said.
“Once it starts it gets worse very, very quickly.
“The second area where they’re damaging even more is where they’re turning.”
A spokeswoman for Macarthur wind farm proponent AGL said the project had strict controls placed on it including traffic management plans that had been endorsed by state authorities.
“AGL is not aware of any particular impact that materials destined for the wind farm have had in excess of the general quarry or public traffic,” she said.
“As part of our protection of public assets, each truck load is measured as it arrives on site to ensure no load limits can be enforced. Cartage equipment is also subject to inspections to ensure compliance with our safety standards.”
AGL expects scoria for the wind farm to be sourced from the quarry for at least the next six months.
Southern Grampians Shire Council has recently used its own funds to carry out minor repair works to Cobb Street, which is a local government road.
Shire infrastructure director Kevin O’Brien said the council had also repaired Cox Street – part of the state-funded Penshurst-Macarthur Road – under its maintenance contract with VicRoads.
“Council is investigating as to whether it can receive compensation from the Macarthur wind farm company (AGL) as part of the planning permit conditions,” he said.
Mr McGlashan said he was concerned that shire ratepayers were footing the bill for damage caused by the trucks.
“I don’t think residents should be expected to pay,” he said.
He is also worried the situation will worsen if RES Australia is given permission to build a 223-turbine wind farm south-west of Penshurst.
Fellow local Keith Staff has submitted questions on the matter to the council and will seek answers at its meeting on Wednesday.
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