The parts came by rail, and others were trucked from Menominee. Officials say the first operational turbine weighs between 800,000 – 900,000 pounds. Thirteen more just like it will be erected. The wind turbines are used to capture energy from the moving air and convert it into electricity.
“The wind power project’s been going incredibly well,” says project manager, Tom Garza. “We’re very fortunate with the weather in the spring. The foundation phase went very well."
Between 60 and 80 people work at the site a day, and they work with very heavy equipment. Officials say they do so with constant vigilance.
“Safety is the most important thing on this project,” says Cory Loomans, Site Safety Supervisor and Project Engineer. “We want everyone to show up in the morning and go home the same way they showed up that night after work."
With the addition of the semis that’ll keep rolling in for the next three weeks, what else can increase safety on the job site? Officials say, slow down.
Garza says one challenge on the project site is when local traffic travels faster than the posted speed limit of 55 mph. Sometimes motorists are traveling up to 70 mph down M-183.
There is constant traffic in and out of the job site, and project officials rely on local help.
“We’ve been working closely with the local road commission making sure we’re addressing local concerns with traffic. Dust protection is a major thing for us out here, and we address it daily," adds Garza.
In two and a half weeks, there’ll be components up at all 14 sites. The Garden Wind Farm is expected to be completed early to mid-August.
Yona Gavino, www.uppermichiganssource.com