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Wind farm permit recommended

MACOMB – The McDonough County Board’s road and bridge committee voted Thursday to recommend approval of the site construction permit for the Cardinal Pointe wind farm. County Engineer Rick Walker said the county board could approve it this month contingent on a few of the requirements being completed before construction begins.
Walker said setback waivers on land leases, restricting the wind turbines to at least 1700 feet inside each property line, and receipt of a Federal Aviation Administration compliance certificate are a few of the items that still need to be completed. He said project owner Capital Power wants to get a connection into the planned Ameren substation near Sciota before the end of the year.
The county engineer said Capital has promised farmland owners not to begin wind turbine construction until after the spring harvest. Walker said that work should begin in May, 2019 and continue through the end of the year. He said the company is required to pay the county $288,750 before construction can begin.
Walker said that, in addition to approving the construction permit, the county board would need to approve a utility line variance. Though the county requires such lines to be run underground, there is one area where only above ground work is possible.
In other business, the committee voted to recommend approval of the 2019 road repair program. Walker said topcoats, or second seal coatings, would be applied to portions of County Highways 8, 11, and 19. He said this would encompass 23 miles. A first seal coating would be applied to 17 miles of roadway on portions of County Highways 2, 12, 17, and 20.
The county engineer said it would cost $1.26 million to do the 40 miles of road repair and rehabilitation. Walker said, with $120,000 to be transferred from the transportation sales tax fund to pay for this year’s road work, he would initially use federal funds to begin the 2019 program.
Walker said the county is two weeks away from reopening the Mound Township Bridge over Kepple Creek. He said approach work and bridge rail and guardrail installation remain to be completed. The engineer also mentioned that all center striping on various county roads has been completed for the year.
County Board Chairman Scott Schwerer signed off on the second year of Walker’s six-year contract as county engineer. The Illinois Department of Transportation requires the county board to sign a contract for each of the six years.