November 8, 2018

County worries about roads near wind farm

By Alexander Simone, Staff Writer | Marion County Record / Hillsboro Star-Journal | November 7, 2018 |

A pair of representatives for Enel Green Power and a pair from Kirkham Michael were asked to appear before county commissioners Monday to discuss concerns about roads surrounding the Diamond Vista wind farm.

Given the number of people working on the project, making sure everyone knows not to damage roads or nearby land is importamt, commissioner Kent Becker said.

“I know it’s a matter of communication because you have so many people working out there,” he said. Every once in a while, a guy will say, ‘I’ll just cut across.’”

If the county compiles a list of roads needing work because of the wind farm, Enel’s area construction manager, Steve Williams, and workers can start improvements, Becker said.

Some of the county’s requests are going to Res America Construction, Inc., which also work swith the wind farm.

“I want to make sure the communication comes directly to me,” Williams said. “If you tell Res, ‘Please blade 340th,’ and we don’t know about it, then we can’t enforce it.”

Bison and Chisholm Trail Rds. were the roads Becker identified for repairs.

“Our roads are so vulnerable to damage,” he said. “It’s a different animal in this area.”

Some of the roads were redone shortly before Enel moved in, commissioner Randy Dallke said.

“We went in ahead of the project trying to rebuild roads for you,” he said. “We just want to be paid back what it’s worth.”

One of the roads hit hard was 340th, commission chairman Dianne Novak said.

“It was a nice rock road, the heavy traffic on that road would not have come from the people who have lived there for years,” she said.

Vehicles going to the wind farm are not the only factors for road conditions, Williams said.

“I think we need to be clear, a lot of farmers use backhoes as well,” he said.

More than that, the number of trucks transporting crops is a major contributor aside from construction vehicles, he said.

Williams expressed a dedication to the Diamond Vista project that he would stay in the area instead of his other two projects in the U.S.

Delivery of turbine parts ends Friday. Construction ends Dec. 5, signaling an end to heavy machinery.

After construction ends, the only traffic the wind farm has will be electricians, and small maintenance jobs.

Williams’ hope is to finish as much roadwork as possible prior to December.

Invoices worth $25,000 were given to Williams for work the county did on roads within the agreement, for which the county requested compensation.

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