A map of the proposed transportation routes for wind turbine components for Consumers Energy’s Lakewinds Energy Park has been posted on the Mason County Building and Zoning Department’s website. The map appears under a link marked “Wind Farm Update.”
Start of construction of the wind park – 56 towers 476-feet in height – has been delayed until Nov. 4 to meet a requirement in the special land use permit the utility received that a two-week notification was required. The county zoning department received the preliminary road map Friday and placed it on its website then starting the notification period, Mary Reilly, zoning administrator, said. Consumers has also sent correspondence to many residents in Summit and Riverton townships concerning planned start of construction.
Mason County Road Commission Managing Director Gary Dittmer said the road map is a proposal that has not yet been approved.
“We have seen this map. It’s part of the proposed agreement and we have not approved it because we have not approved the agreement yet,” Dittmer said.
The MCRC board is scheduled to discuss the plan and possibly approve it in a 10 a.m. Friday meeting at the MCRC office.
“It’s basically the route map where they’re going to bring in the components. The propellers are 100 feet long and they can’t make all the turns.”
The map lays out all of the proposed changes to intersections in general terms such as “radius improvement” and “intersection improvement on multiple corners.” The map also indicates the direction of travel trucks will be taking on each road while hauling components.
Dittmer said the modifications to the corners may be temporary or permanent. The modifications will stay within the rights of way except in instances where Consumers Energy has permission from the landowner to work on private land.
“They’re going to make modifications, these are what we’re calling road modifications so they can make turns and get them in,” Dittmer said. “Some of these are temporary and some of these are going to remain in effect.”
Dittmer said he does not know which areas Consumers may be working beyond the right of way because it is the utility’s responsibility to handle that.
“My only obligation and responsibility is within the right of way,” Dittmer said. “If they’re outside the right of way they have to get permission from the property owner.”
Dittmer said there is no tentative agreement because the MCRC board has still not seen one. “The attorneys still have it,” Dittmer said. “I’m hoping they’ll have it put together well before Friday.”
The road commission board has seen the map but not the full agreement, Dittmer said.
Dittmer said the map does not indicate all possible changes to roads.
“There will probably be some changes, maybe the extension of a culvert,” Dittmer said.
He called it a “dynamic document” that can be changed even after it is approved if “something needs to be re-evaluated.” He also said if townships have concerns after seeing the road plan, it could still be changed even if it is signed.
Asked if a truck with a 100-foot-long load could make it over the hills and valleys of Hawley Road, which seems to be a main route on the map, Dittmer said he did not know.
“I would hope that they would figure that out before they break something,” Dittmer said.
Dittmer said Chauvez Road will be a main route for transportation.
“We were looking at Chauvez Road being the access – it’s flatter, has better access and so forth,” Dittmer said. “They’ll be making determinations of which routes they’ll be using and we will approve them. We have not done that at this point in time yet.”
Dittmer said the MCRC’s main concern is protecting the county’s infrastructure.
“Our main concern is that they are coming in on the west side of the area because of the Custer Road bridge and the Swan Creek bridge (would prevent access from the east),” Dittmer said. “Those are both bridges that are suspect – they’re not problems but we didn’t want to create a problem.”
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