The Town of Plattsburgh Planning Board has given conditional approval to a rail yard for unloading wind turbine materials destined for over-the-road transport headed for Pennsylvania.
CP Rail has entered into an agreement with property owner Adirondack Shredding to conduct a pilot program at the site. Plans for the pilot project call for 424 truckloads of equipment to move from there.
The rail siding site was chosen because the wind tower sections are too large to travel any farther south on the rail line between Montreal and Albany.
At a recent Planning Board meeting, Aaron Ovios and Karl Weiss of Robert M. Sutherland presented plans on behalf of Adirondack Shredding.
"We have 3 to 3-1/2 weeks to get this done," he said.
That work includes conversion of a dirt road on the property to a gravel surface, and a 240-foot-long paved apron along South Junction Road. A gravel surface will also go in along the northern side of the existing rail spur. Another gravel road will lead to a gravel storage area that will be about 300 feet by 416 feet.
It will require delivery of an estimated 840 loads of gravel during construction. The project also requires installation of two cranes, one for unloading rail cars and one for loading trucks.
WIND TOWER TUBES
The approval calls for construction from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and until dusk on Saturday.
The wind tower hubs and nacelles are to be transported via rail from Pensacola, Fla. The single-car manifest shipments will take about 30 days and are scheduled to arrive between late November and January.
The wind tower tubes are to be transported on five unit-trains (trains dedicated to that cargo) from Trois Rivieres, Quebec. Those trains are expected to take five days and are scheduled to arrive between early December and late January.
Because of the size of the equipment, trains and trucks carrying these loads can only travel during daylight hours. The first railcars are scheduled to reach Plattsburgh on Nov. 27.
The railcars will be separated from the trains at the Bluff Point rail yard. They are expected to move to the new rail yard in 10- to 14-car trains, so as not to block South Junction Road as they are unloaded.
According to a letter from Bruce Lang of Wisconsin-based B&K Trucking submitted to the Planning Department, transport will consist of 176 "superloads" and 248 oversize loads.
New York State Department of Transportation defines a superload as one that is more than 16 feet wide or 16 feet tall or 160 feet long or weighs more than 200,000 pounds. Lang previously told the Planning Board the superloads will be 178 to 180 feet long.
The superloads are for wind tower sections.
TWO LOADS DAILY
The route for the superloads is west on South Junction Road, south on Route 22, north on Military Turnpike, west on Route 11 and then south on Interstate 81 to Pennsylvania. Each superload load will have three private escorts and one to two State Police escorts.
Pennsylvania-based Daily Express has a contract to transport hubs and machine heads. The trucks carrying machine heads will be 85 feet long, and those carrying hubs will be 75 feet long.
The oversize loads can go south on Route 22 to access Interstate 87 at Peru. One escort vehicle will accompany the larger trucks, but is not required for the smaller.
B&K expects to move three superloads a day and two oversize loads, while Daily expects to move two loads a day.
BOND FOR ROAD DAMAGE
The equipment is for BP Wind Energy's Mehoopany Wind Farm, about 20 miles northwest of Scranton, Pa.
Among the 16 conditions for Planning Board approval are a completed emergency response plan, an agreement that the trucks will pull over periodically to let other vehicles pass and having the site monitored for noise.
There will also be a bond to cover any damage to Town of Plattsburgh roads caused by the loads.
The pilot program is scheduled to be completed by the end of February. CP has indicated if it is successful, it could apply for additional operations.
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