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Wind turbine assembly delayed a week by transportation problems in R.I.

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  February 1, 2012 04:29 PM

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The assembly of Scituate's big wind turbine will be delayed until next week, after several of the heavier pieces ran into transportation problems in Rhode Island.

According to Scituate's public works director, Al Bangert, who is overseeing the turbine delivery on the town’s end, some of the tower sections – weighing in at over 200,000 pounds, might be too heavy for some of Rhode Island’s bridges.

The turbine parts were all delivered to Providence, R.I., by boat from China, and officials expected them to be shipped up the coast to Scituate this week. Although the three turbine blades and the connecting hub have been delivered safely to Scituate shores, the remaining pieces have yet to be moved.

“There was some difficultly in Rhode Island, and some bridges that needed additional study,” Bangert said.

Any remaining problems should be sorted out by Friday, when the first tower section is expected to arrive in town.

Bangert expects that section to be up as soon as it arrives. The materials then need to rest for three days for some components to dry. After that, the remaining tower sections can go up.

“By midweek next week, we should see the tower put into position and rising up,” Bangert said.

Although some of the pieces have had transportation issues, the three blades and the hub were delivered pretty seamlessly.

Parts came down Route 128, got off at Route 37 in Braintree by the mall, and came down Route 228, past Derby Street, down Route 53 and into Norwell, before reaching the Scituate roundabout.

The blades were all delivered at midnight, with police shutting down the rotary for about 10 minutes so that the massive trucks the blades were on could be maneuvered backwards around the rotary.

The hub – or the piece that connects the three blades and rotates with them, was delivered in the daytime last week.

“The blades and the hub are sitting in the Widow's Walk parking lot, and the pieces that will begin to arrive for the tower, as each piece arrives it will be erected,” Bangert said.

Eventually it will come time to install the hub and the three blades onto the nacelle – the electrical box that holds all the turbine components.

“That will be an interesting operation. By then, everything will be in the air. You’ll be able to watch it from anywhere,” Bangert said.

Interest in the town has grown as more pieces arrive, with some saying they didn’t realize how big the turbine sections were until they were standing beside them.

The biggest reaction took place during the signing day on Jan. 21, when hundreds of people came out to sign the turbine. Altogether, officials counted 1,250 signatures on the backside of one of the blades.

One of the best moments was when a woman came over, saying, that her husband was totally against the turbine, Bangert said.

“After we discussed it, she said she was going to sign his name and take this pamphlet home to him RIGHT NOW!” Bangert said.

Officials hope the turbine will be up in the next week or so with testing to begin shortly thereafter.

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