Seven truckloads of supplies and materials required to construct a 380-foottall industrial wind turbine in Union Beach are awaiting transportation permits to be delivered to the borough.
In order to deliver the supplies to its Union Beach headquarters, the Bayshore Regional Sewerage Authority (BRSA) has applied for a transportation permit from the borough.
“We need to get a transportation permit from Union Beach. There’s a county permit as well, but that won’t be issued until Union Beach issues their permit,” BRSA Executive Director Robert Fischer said Sept. 14.
Fisher said he expects Union Beach will approve the transport of the turbine components.
“Once that permit has been issued, we submit that permit to the county and the county approves the complete package.”
He said he hopes to obtain the borough’s permit by the end of September.
“The contractor has had to evaluate any bridges along the route that the county or the town has asked them to evaluate,” Fischer said.
“That’s been done by a professional engineering firm and the evaluation is submitted along with the transportation permit.”
He said permits from the New Jersey Department of Transportation have already been issued, but would have to be reapplied for since they have since expired.
The wind turbine would be transported to Union Beach by seven trucks. The tower itself would be divided into three sections among three trucks, three trucks would each carry one of the turbine’s 118-foot blades and one truck would transport the turbine’s nacelle—its generator and hub.
“The route is to be determined by the contractor,” Fischer said.
“Once it gets into this area, it will come down Route 36, Union Avenue, Florence Avenue and Ninth Street.”
Fischer said the axle load of the tower would weigh approximately 8.75 tons, the blades would weigh 9 tons, and the nacelle would weigh 11.5 tons.
He said a typical roadway design accounts for approximately 16 tons per axle load.
“In comparison, a typical loaded concrete truck is a 24,000 to 28,000 pound [12 to 14 tons] axle load,” Fischer said in a Sept. 16 email.
“The nacelle is similar, yet actually has a lighter axle weight load than a concrete truck.”
Despite the authority’s intent to deliver the turbine to Union Beach, its construction is still being challenged in state court.
In December 2010, the Union Beach Planning Board denied BRSA’s application to consolidate the adjacent JCP&L lot, claiming that the two properties are in different zones. The authority required possession of the plot because the turbine’s blades would extend over the property lines.
When BRSAfiled suit, a Superior Court judge barred the borough from “enforcing or taking any action under its ordinance regarding the permitting, installations, construction or prohibition of the project.”
OnApril 8, a trial court decided in favor of BRSA, citing the area’s coastal location that would place it under the exclusive jurisdiction of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.
However, on April 21, Superior Court Judge Mary Catherine Cuff granted Union Beach’s application for a stay on the turbine construction, pending an appeal. On May 10, the authority condemned the JCP&L property through a state-issued Coastal Area Facility Review Act (CAFRA) permit and BRSA attorney Louis Granata promptly filed a motion to dismiss the borough’s legal action to block the turbine.
“All issues raised in the appeal have been rendered moot as a result of the authority’s exercise of its powers of eminent domain,” a July 12 letter accompanying the motion to dismiss states.
However, on Aug. 5 a Superior Court judge denied BRSA’s motion to dismiss, upholding the borough’s appeal of the turbine.
In an Aug. 19 letter, Union Beach special counsel Stuart Lieberman said that any work BRSA does on the turbine – including the 262-foot-high foundation that is already in place— would have to be removed if the matter is ultimately decided in favor of the borough.
“By proceeding without all of the necessary approvals, BRSA would not only be putting itself at risk, but it is also putting customers at risk,” the letter states.
“We would respectfully suggest that putting all work on the wind turbine project on hold until the pending appeal is resolved would alleviate the risk,” it continues.
“We’ve been advised by our attorney that we can install it before the issue has been resolved,” Fischer said on Sept. 14.
“However, in all likelihood, the issue’s going to be resolved before this [turbine] is transported anyway.”
The appeals process for the turbine is ongoing.
Lieberman is scheduled to submit a brief on Union Beach’s behalf by Sept. 23, and Granata will file a brief by Oct. 24.
Lieberman’s reply brief is due Nov. 3.
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