PLATTSBURGH – Wind-turbine tower sections are expected to start moving from the Canadian Pacific rail yard on South Junction Road this week.
The Plattsburgh Town Council passed a resolution to enter into a interim road-use agreement with BP’s Mehoopany Wind Energy LLC. Town Supervisor Bernie Bassett said that will allow the tower components to start to move from the rail yard, where they have been arriving since early December.
BP Wind Energy Logistics Specialist Anthony Galton said now that they have the agreement with the town, they can apply for a permit from the New York State Department of Transportation.
Once that is received, the company can apply for New York State Police escorts. Galton said that must be done 48 hours in advance, so the earliest the “superloads” could start to roll would be Tuesday.
He said the tower shipments will be about 180 feet long and weigh about 244,000 pounds. The shipments are classified as “superloads” because they are more than 160 feet in length and weigh more than 200,000 pounds.
‘READY TO GO’
The plan originally called for tower tubes, hubs and nacelles to be transported to the rail yard. BP has since made arrangements for nacelles and hubs to go directly to Pennsylvania from Florida, but only after eight nacelles and four hubs were already at the rail yard.
Galton said they now expect to ship 248 tower sections and those nacelles and hubs from Plattsburgh.
“We do have trucks loaded and ready to go,” he said.
The loads can travel only during daylight hours, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., he said, according to New York state restrictions.
The designated route for the “superloads” is west on South Junction Road, south on Route 22, north on Military Turnpike, west on Route 11 and south on Interstate 81.
The nacelles and hubs will go south on Route 22 and travel on Interstate 87 from Peru.
Each load will have a police escort and be accompanied by other escort vehicles. All transports are to be coordinated with Clinton County Emergency Services, which will notify fire departments, ambulance services, schools and other entities that might be affected by traffic delays.
“Coordination is always the key,” Bassett said.
The supervisor said the town has received a $100,000 security deposit from Mehoopany Wind Energy that it will hold in escrow until a final road-use agreement can be finalized. That is to cover any necessary repairs to town highway infrastructure caused by the shipments.
The Town Highway Department has already performed an inspection of its roads along the route. And it has taken the precaution of raising the traffic light at the intersection of Military Turnpike and Rugar Street to accommodate the trucks.
The tower sections have been coming by rail from Trois Rivieres, Quebec, because they can’t be transported over the road in Canada. They can go only as far south as Plattsburgh because of their size and the narrowness of the rail corridor along Lake Champlain.
Bassett said the town was one of the last municipalities along the route to reach a road-use agreement with BP Wind Energy. That has delayed the shipments to Pennsylvania.
The town has received excellent cooperation from BP and the trucking company, Bassett said.
The railyard plans were being presented to the Town of Plattsburgh Planning Board and had received conditional approval in November 2011. Canadian Pacific has since informed the town that under the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act of 1995, railroad operations are under the jurisdiction of the Federal Surface Transportation Board.
The Town Planning Board has since passed a resolution acknowledging the federal jurisdiction and ended its review of the plan. Town regulations still cover any non-railroad-related activities at the location.