KEYSER – Defining the phrase “fix the roads” created a lengthy discussion between officials of the Pinnacle Wind Farm and several homeowners living in the area where the turbines and related materials are being transported to the construction site of the wind farm.
Donnie Ashby, a member of the Pinnacle Wind Farm Community Advisory group, and living within miles of where the 23 turbines will start operating commercially by the end of 2011, had a question he wanted answered during Wednesday’s meeting of the Pinnacle Wind Farm Community Advisory Committee.
“Will our roads be better?” he asked, with reference to what may happen when the wind farm project is completed.
“We don’t want just patching here and patching there on our roads,” he added.
“You have money to give out to those who will have a shadow of a windmill on their house,” he said, “So you have money to repair the roads.”
Giving reassurance on the repair of the roadway across the Pinnacle, Joe Bocian, project manager, said, “We are tearing up Pinnacle Road, but we will fix it.
“We will not wreck the roads and then leave,” he said.
Giving information from the perspective of the department of highways, Jarrod Wilson, an employee of that agency, stated, “The DOH holds a pretty respectful bond for the wind farm that will be used for the roads, and the bond will not be released until that obligation is met.”
He also mentioned what everyone in attendance is aware of, and that is, “winter comes early on the mountain,” while suggesting that over the next month, “repair work on the roads be done during the weekends.”
Jim Cookman, of US WindForce, said there already have been eight areas across the Pinnacle where roads have already been
hauling turbines parts, adding, “These have been substantial improvements.”
In addition, to that, Wilson said, “We thank you for the improvements.”
Ashby said he has supported the wind farm project since the beginning, but now, “Friends are complaining to me about the road conditions,” naming the revitalization of the Grassy Ridge Road in Grant County after the completion of a wind farm project there several years ago.
Another mountaintop resident, Albert Lee, living on Tasker Road, near Cross, also voiced a concern of having the road that runs in front of his house developing into a deteriorated condition.
The concern was centered on the trucks hauling clay to the section of the Pinnacle Wind Farm, with the entrance being off Tasker Road.
Saying the trucks have been traveling on Tasker Road for the past two weeks, Lee wanted to know how much longer this process would take place on “our tar and chip road.”
Bocian said about 10 trucks a day travel over Tasker Road to the substation area of the project for backfilling purposes.
“This will be complete in another three weeks,” he stated.
“Is it possible to have Tasker Road reconditioned?” Lee asked.
Bocian gave a rundown of what will happen during the time road repair will start by saying, “We may miss a season because of the weather and frost on the ground.”
He said that Edison Mission Energy, owners of the project, has taken videos of all the roadways affected by the heavy truck traffic to the Pinnacle Wind Farm to show their conditions before the start of construction time.
“This is required, and Edison will develop a repair plan based on the videos.” Bocian said.
Commenting on prior road conditions, he said, “Edison is prepared to put the roads back to the condition they were just before the beginning of the project.”
Bill Ashby, engineering site manager for the Pinnacle project, said, “We are not trying to walk away from the repair work, because we are mandated to fix them.”
Lee noted the solution to the road repair situation was to “have them fixed,” and speaking to Bocian, he commented, “The day the roads are fixed, I will shake your hand,saying to you, ‘You are incredible.’”
Lee also said to Bocian, “What we want is for you to treat the people with integrity and respect.”
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