EAST PEORIA -- How does a company move 106 massive wind turbines from a railroad yard in East Peoria to farmland in Bureau County?
In pieces, with much planning and slowly. Very slowly.
"We've been working on this for a couple of months now to come up with a plan we can all agree on to minimize the impact on the city of East Peoria," Public Works Director Dennis Barron said Tuesday. "There is really no benefit to the city to have this happening here."
Since March, trainloads of wind turbine parts have been rolling into the huge railyard in East Peoria that stretches from Columbia Road behind the shopping center at Main and Washington streets to Wesley Road. The parts have been stacked and stockpiled at the railyard for weeks awaiting transportation to the Walnut Ridge Wind Farm project in north-central Bureau County.
Now they have to get them there.
"We're talking more than 900 semi-truck loads total," Barron said.
Barron described the process to the East Peoria City Council on Tuesday evening.
Working with the city and the Illinois Department of Transportation, Landwehr Construction Inc., of St. Cloud, Minn., agreed on a plan to truck the wind turbines out of East Peoria. The move is planned to start the last week of June and last until the first week of September. The company will move two turbines a day, Monday through Friday, between 2 a.m. and 5 a.m., with an agreement for the two convoys to be clear of the East Peoria city limits by 6 a.m. every day.
Each turbine requires nine trucks to move: four pieces of the tower, three blades, one hub and one generator that powers each unit. The blades are each 204 feet long. The generator weights 258,000 pounds and requires a 13-axle truck to move.
The company originally wanted to run one 9-truck convoy between 9 a.m. and noon each day, and a second convoy between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m.
"That would have been a disaster. It would have gridlocked all of downtown traffic," Barron said. "We were fortunate to get it moved to the middle of the night."
The convoys will leave the railyard at Columbia Street, turn right onto Washington, left onto Main Street until merging onto eastbound U.S. Route 24. The trucks will have at least two civilian vehicle escorts and the Illinois State Police. East Peoria police will block of roads in the area until the trucks have left the city.
The company is liable for any damage done to local streets and overtime costs for police officers.
"We'll see how it goes," Barron said.
The company originally wanted to move the parts south toward Interstate 474, but Wesley Road could not accommodate the oversized structures.
"IDOT has helped enforce a lot of rule changes with this move that is a big benefit to (East Peoria)," City Administrator Jeff Eder said Tuesday.