September 5, 2009
Wide load raises eyebrows
Trucks carrying sections of wind turbines for Pa. wind farm have been coming through area
Trucks carrying huge cylinders and with signs that read “Oversize Load” have been traveling through the area the past couple of weeks.
The trucks are carrying materials for a wind farm being constructed in Tioga and Bradford counties in Pennsylvania by a company called AES Armenia Mountain Wind LLC, one of the truck drivers told the Cortland Standard Thursday. Arlington, Va.-based AES Corp. is a global power company with generation and distribution businesses.
When the trucks pass through Cortland they are escorted by at least one small vehicle with a sign, warning people to use caution when driving near them. Sometimes, the trucks are followed by a road patrol officer from the city police.
The company plans to construct 52 wind turbines in Armenia Township in Bradford County, as well as 73 wind turbines in Richmond, Sullivan and Ward townships in Tioga County, according to news media reports. The towers are 250 feet tall and the blades extend the height to about 400 feet, according to the Sun-Gazette newspaper in Williamsport, Pa.
Megan Dotter, spokeswoman for AES, said Friday that construction of the wind farm has already begun and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
The trucks are traveling both north and south on Interstate 81, but they have to take a detour into Cortland because the state Department of Transportation is doing construction on an overpass between the Exits 10 and 11, Lt. Jon Gesin of the city police said Friday.
Many of the trucks are taking Exit 11 to Clinton Avenue, turning left onto Church Street, right onto Port Watson Street, and then left on Owego Street, Gesin said.
The trucks have also been spotted in Virgil and Dryden.
The trucks straddle the lanes when they are traveling on Port Watson Street, so drivers are unable to drive alongside them, Gesin said.
AES has never notified the city police to say the trucks were passing through, Gesin said, but the police have been assisting the trucks when they see them.
“The guys on the road, we’re keeping an eye on them, and if they come across an issue we’re helping them out,” Gesin said.
On Thursday evening one of the trucks was traveling on Church Street, when an access hatch on the cylinder became caught on telephone lines and pulled down two telephone poles on Church Street, city firefighters said. The accident caused a power outage to the nearby Econo Lodge, and city police closed off the road between Central and Clinton avenues.
No other accidents involving the trucks have been reported to police, Gesin said.
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