Acushnet residents who are up late shouldn’t be surprised to see or hear massive tractor trailers loaded with wind turbine components rumbling through town in the middle of the night over the next few weeks, Gamesa Corporation, the Spanish manufacturer of wind turbines, told selectmen July 27.
Gamesa said it would be bringing four industrial-sized turbines into the Port of New Bedford for installation at a site in Buzzards Bay. Company officials told selectmen the big trucks will be forced to transport some of the larger components through Acushnet.
Two of the four turbines have already been delivered to New Bedford and two others are in the process of being offloaded now, company representative Eric Gagnon said. He said because some of the components are too large to fit under the New Bedford-Fairhaven Bridge’s superstructure, they will have to be trucked over the Coggeshall Street Bridge.
Gagnon said because the trucks and trailers are too large to negotiate the narrow turn towards Route 6 in Fairhaven, they will be routed down Howland Road and Alden Road in Fairhaven, down South Main Street in Acushnet, turning around at the P.J. Keating asphalt plant before traveling back to Route 6.
Of the 24 trucks used to transport the components during the early morning hours, 16 would have to use the Acushnet route, Gagnon said. He said all the trucks will be accompanied by a state police escort and local police departments will be advised of the travel times and routes in order to coordinate traffic control.
Gagnon said the height of the trucks and the components they are carrying will also require some tree trimming along the planned routes and the temporary raising of some utility lines. He said each transport vehicle will be accompanied by a team of contractors able to repair any downed lines immediately.
Town Administrator Alan Coutinho asked the Gamesa Corp. representative to have the hauling company provide a certificate of insurance to the town “just in case something happens… so we know who to go after” for damages.
Gagnon said four trucks at a time would be the maximum number traveling through town on any given night. The convoys would probably start in mid-August, he told selectmen.
In response to questioning by Selectman Garry Rawcliffe, Gagnon said there is also the possibility that the shipments through Acushnet could become a regular occurrence, if the company gets more installation contracts in this part of the country. The Gamesa representative said the company has already done four projects in Massachusetts and more sales could bring more turbines through New Bedford’s new deep water port.
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