Residents in Orleans County have seen big truckloads of wind turbine parts with escort vehicles and sheriff’s cruisers roll through over the past couple of weeks.
These turbine parts are not headed for the Lowell wind project.
In fact, one such load on Tuesday, with escort vehicles and deputy cruisers in tow, rolled right past the entrance to the Lowell wind staging area on Route 100 and kept right on going, prompting onlookers to speculate about the loads.
That load was headed for Route 58, over the Lowell Mountain range, toward Orleans and the on ramp to Interstate 91 southbound, on their way to Massachusetts.
And other loads destined for Massachusetts are coming from Canada and heading south, according to the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department.
One such southbound load left the U.S. port of entry in Derby Line about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday and headed southbound on I-91, on the way to Route 9 in southern Vermont and then to Massachusetts.
It’s one of several such loads a day southbound on I-91, Chief Deputy Phil Brooks said Wednesday afternoon.
The Orleans County Sheriff’s Department is under contract to escort these loads of wind tower bases and mid-sections several times a day for several more weeks, he said.
Sheriff’s departments from other counties and states are involved in escorting these loads and will be doing the same for the Lowell wind turbine parts that are due to roll soon across Orleans County, Brooks said.
“People had concerns about why other departments are here,” Brooks said.
The Orleans County Sheriff’s Department does not have the manpower to handle every big load that will be going through, he said. And it does depend on where the loads begin the trip. For example, the load that rolled through Lowell on the way to Orleans and I-91 was escorted by deputies from the Grand Isle County Sheriff’s Department.
Brooks said that Orleans deputies have not been contracted to escort the Lowell wind parts. Some parts – the tower sections and blades – are now in Island Pond in Essex County. Brooks expects the Essex County Sheriff’s Department and other departments will handle those loads.
The Orleans County department is booked solid with road work and escort detail in addition to the usual jobs involving the courts, corrections and providing law enforcement for towns which contract with the department, Brook said.