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Lowell wind road construction continues

LOWELL – Green Mountain Power contractors continue to build a permanent access road to the ridge line where 21 industrial turbines will be erected next year.

Most of the work involves tree clearing and earthwork. Blasting began last week on the western access to prepare the road to the ridge line and to install permanent culverts at stream crossings, said Dorothy Schnure, GMP spokeswoman.

“Rock from the blasting operation is a critical component of the project as it will stay on site and be used to help build a proper road base,” Schnure said. “The foundation work will begin later this fall, once the access road is substantially complete.”

For the casual passerby, the “lay down yard” at Route 100 appears to be completed, with a series of construction trailers on site, a sign saying Kingdom Community Wind and parking for the many workers on the project.

Work on the most controversial section of the project, on the ridge line itself, continues with tree clearing and preparation. Just to the east of the crane path and one turbine site is where opponents have set up a small camp on property owned by Don and Shirley Nelson.

The Nelsons warned GMP about the camp, asking that the safety of the campers be taken into account.

GMP’s contractors won’t be blasting in that area of the ridge line for possibly a month.

The opponents hope their presence will stop the blasting that is essential for the crane path and site preparation.

Schnure said the camp has no effect on current construction work.

Meanwhile, work has begun on the electrical collector substation, located on the mountain as well as tree clearing for the overhead collector line, which runs from the substation to the ridge line, Schnure said.

Locals will also have noticed work on the transmission line corridor, which Schnure said should be complete this week.

Tree crews are also working their way south from Jay toward Lowell, she said. The line contractor was in the process of setting 20 poles between Route 105 and Jay, with the first wire pull scheduled for later this week.

As of Friday, there were 124 individuals working in support of the construction phase of the Kingdom Community Wind project, up from 117 a week ago, Schnure said.

JA McDonald of Lyndon Center has 31 employees conducting site construction activities in Lowell. Employees with ADA Security of Newport are providing site security for the project.

Electrical contractors of Barre and Maine Drilling & Blasting, with an office in Barre, are also working on the wind site portion of the project.

On the transmission upgrades, 18 employees from New England Tree Experts in Hardwick are conducting the tree work. Workers from ECI of Burlington and Northern Realm Power of Colchester are working on the upgrades to the substations in Jay and Lowell as well.

Also present throughout the project are employees with both Vermont Electric Cooperative and GMP, plus those with the general contractor, Reed and Reed.