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Commissioners sign road use agreement

NEWKIRK – The Kay County Commissioners met in the Kay County Courthouse Tuesday morning, May 14, for a special meeting with Duke Energy Renewables and community supporters to formally sign a road use agreement for the proposed Frontier II Windpower Project wind farm, to be built around Newkirk and Kildare starting fall 2019.

The project is an extension of the Frontier Windpower Project, located between Newkirk and Blackwell.

The community has been split concerning the project, with many expressing concerns about the proximity of some turbines to the city limits. According to state ordinances, a wind turbine must be one and one-half nautical miles from a school, hospital or airport. Because Newkirk Public Schools is on the south end of the community, that would allow turbines to be right at the edge of the community, including the Newkirk Cemetery and Kaw Nation complex.

The turbines closest to the complex were removed from the project.

“We’re sticking with the state statue setbacks from the school, but what we’re doing is removing some of the ones that are close to the one-mile setback to Kaw limits,” said Graham Furlong, Duke Energy Renewables representative. “Those were the ones they were most concerned about.”

Representatives also agreed to move four turbines closest to the community.

“There were some west of Highway 77, and they moved all those,” said District Two Commissioner Jason Shanks.

Duke Energy Renewables released a map of the project, detailing the proposed locations of the turbines, as well as a map of the roads to be used during the project. Prentice Road will receive the heaviest traffic, between Gate Road on the north and south of Tower Road, south of Kildare. Longwood Road will also receive a lot of traffic, from just south of Tower Road to Earth Road. Other north-south roads include Pecan Road, Traders Bend Road and a small portion of Enterprise Road, near Tower Road.

East-West roads include Brake Road, from Highway 77 to Prentice Road, Gate Road from Pecan Road to Prentice Road and Adobe Road from east of Prentice Road to Enterprise Road.

The roads will be improved as part of the project.

“We are paying $932,000 – $15,000 per mile of gravel road and $100,000 per mile of paved road,” Furlong said. “We do the maintenance of the road during construction period. We’ll have to widen some shoulders to get equipment in. If we cause any damage on paved roads, well pay to have them repaved.”

The project is expected to begin construction.