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Turbine parts leaving New Bedford

NEW BEDFORD – Trucks weighing more than 140 tons and half as long as a football field will rumble through some city streets this week with the first journey scheduled for Sunday night.

The trips, scheduled to start at the Marine Commerce Terminal in the South End, and end in Plymouth, represents a historic, and to some a controversial, undertaking.

The vehicle will carry wind turbine parts that have been sitting at the terminal since July to their destination: A wind farm in southern Plymouth.

The parts, delivered from Spain-based Gamesa, which produces and operates wind power facilities around the world, were on one of the first two cargo ships to use the terminal’s deep-water berth.

The massive carrier that will transport the parts features multiple axles and hydraulic wheels and can make 90-degree turns.

“It’s quite a thing to see,” said Ron Labelle, commissioner of New Bedford’s Department of Public Infrastructure. “It can get into some pretty tight spots.”

The vehicle will depart from the terminal area at about 10-11 p.m. Sunday, Labelle said. From there, it will travel to Coggshall Street into Fairhaven, the end of the New Bedford portion of the journey.

Police will escort the vehicle throughout the city route, he said. Similar trips are likely for the next five or six nights until the work is complete, Labelle said.

No roads will be closed, he said, but drivers that encounter the caravan are asked to seek an alternate route or remain patient, he said.

Officials selected the late-night hours of travel because “we don’t see there being a lot of traffic,” Labelle said.

A temporary road was built in the area of MacArthur Boulevard and Route 18 to accommodate the vehicles, he said. Trees and streetlights were taken down and fire hydrants relocated in preparation for the travels, he said.

“We’ve been prepared for this’’ for several months, Labelle said. “We worked out that route.’’

The route raised concerns among officials in Bourne, who questioned the call to remove about 800 feet of guardrails to allow the vehicle to pass.

When official objections were recently dropped, the project received the green light.