Municipal officials along the planned transport route for a wind turbine bound for Union Beach are not yet on board with the plan to transport 200 tons of components through their communities.
Monmouth County officials are requiring the transporter to receive permission from Union Beach, Keyport, Hazlet, Matawan, Aberdeen and Marlboro, all members of the Bayshore Regional Sewerage Authority (BRSA).
“The concern the council has, and that includes myself, is that Matawan is a historic municipality dating back 325 years. I am not saying the roads are that old, but they are pretty close to it,” Matawan Mayor Paul Buccellato said at the Borough Council’s Dec. 19 meeting.
“My concern is that … these are pretty heavy loads. Crossing through or driving down Main Street, we have bridges over waterways that we are concerned about. Under those bridges there are sewer pipes and water pipes,” Buccellato said.
The Matawan mayor’s comments followed a presentation by a representative of the Conti Group, the developer that would construct the 386-foot-tall industrial wind turbine at the BRSA in Union Beach. “[Monmouth County] has issued us a list of requirements, which we are nearing the end of complying with. One of those requirements is to obtain agreements with all the towns we are traveling through,” said Eric Millard, project manager for Conti.
At the meeting, Millard said Marlboro and Matawan are the only municipalities that have not yet approved the transport of the turbine parts.
However, officials from these towns said in interviews that their governing bodies have not formally approved the transportation of the 200 tons of components that are needed to construct the turbine. “We haven’t formally approved anything. That would require reversing a resolution that was passed in 2010 opposing [the construction of the turbine],” Keyport Mayor Robert McLeod said on Dec. 22. “We got the checklist [of provisions for the turbine transport]. It came back answered, but we haven’t really discussed it since then. We haven’t formally approved it.”
Marlboro Business Administrator Jonathan Capp said Conti had provided information about the route and public safety considerations. “All issues concerning equipment of this size are being raised by the town and will be discussed,” Capp said, adding that the Marlboro Township Council has not approved anything yet.
TheAberdeen Township Council has not made a decision either.
“We have to look to our engineers to make sure it won’t cause trouble with our roads and they need a police escort. There are a couple of things we have to look at,” Aberdeen Township Manager Holly Reycraft said. “[The council] hasn’t made a decision and we haven’t gotten anything yet from [Conti] to act on it yet.”
Buccellato told Millard on Dec. 19 that Matawan officials are concerned about the potential for damage to infrastructure.
Members of the Matawan council passed a resolution on Oct. 18 asking Monmouth County officials to certify that the passage and transportation of the turbine parts would not impact or damage roads, dams or bridges in Matawan.
The council has yet to hear back from county officials, Buccellato said.
Millard told officials that Conti has had the analysis conducted.
“We are working with Monmouth County right now and one of the things the county has required us to do is hire a thirdparty engineer to do a review. There is one bridge around Main Street that we are crossing over,” he said. “They have performed an analysis … It is currently under review of the county so you should be receiving that letter soon.”
Buccellato remained unconvinced.
“When we receive that letter we will possibly proceed,” he said.
In an October letter from Millard, he told the Matawan council the turbine is expected to be transported in February if the towns and county grant approvals.
The state Department of Transportation has already approved the transport of the components from a warehouse in Newark where they are currently being stored.
In a Dec. 2 interview, Monmouth County Engineer Joseph Ettore said even with the turbine broken up among several vehicles, the weight may still be too much for the roads to handle.
“Bridges often have to be specially fitted for the transport of an overweight load, like the turbine parts. The county can take measures to secure a bridge, such as timber or steel dunnage, which would help evenly distribute the load,” Ettore said. “There are special measures that can be taken for an oversized weight, but there’s also a limit as to how much that bridge can take. Sometimes, even with those special measures, you cannot allow it.”
Greater Media Newspapers staff writer Jack Murtha contributed to this story.
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