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Road issues could stall wind farm

Concerned about unsafe township road conditions in the new Pilot Hill Wind Development area, the Iroquois County Board Wednesday authorized withholding of construction permits if contractors fail to meet terms of road maintenance.

County Engineer Joel Moore asked for that potential action “to get their attention” for compliance with road maintenance agreements.

Similar problems in Kankakee County have brought talks with the developer by County Engineer Mark Rogers, Otto Township Road Commissioner Barry Painter and Pilot Township Road Commissioner Don Fleischauer. “We are trying to enforce the road agreement,” Rogers said Thursday. “The developer seems to be listening.”

Moore told the Iroquois board Wednesday that most of the road problems have been in Kankakee County but asked that Iroquois County permits be withheld until he or Milks Grove Township Road Commissioner Rudy Splear are contacted about road conditions.

Moore said problems have been created with road surface conditions, inadequate warning signs and shoulders that are left too steep. Also, he said, in two instances large wind tower component parts have been left on roads overnight, in direct violation of the pre-development agreement.

“We’ve had several discussions with them and told them our concerns,” Moore said, adding that they received “a lot of lip service” in return. “Therefore we have asked for this (withholding of permits) to get their attention,” he said.

Iroquois County State’s Attorney Jim Devine said the permits can be withheld if the contractors don’t comply with previous agreements.

San Diego-based EDF Renewable Energy launched development in early October of the former K-4 Windfarm, which was originally approved about six years ago.

The re-named Pilot Hill Wind Development, the project now includes 41 turbines in Milks Grove Township, west of Chebanse, and 62 in the south parts of Otto and Pilot townships, between Kankakee and Herscher.