Wind farm developer repairing roads as required
PAXTON — The developer of the Pioneer Trail Wind Farm near Paxton is making good on its contract to repair the 35 miles of township and county roads used to build the 94-turbine wind farm last fall.
As required by a road-use agreement with Ford and Iroquois counties, E.On Climate & Renewables recently began repairing the roads at the company's expense.
Workers from Beniach Construction Inc., Tuscola, have already completed the resurfacing of the one county road used to build the wind farm — Ford County Road 2600 East, known as Clarence Road, according to Ford County Highway Engineer Greg Perkinson.
Meanwhile, progress has also been made on the repair of 28 1/2 miles of township roads in Ford County and 6 miles of township road in Iroquois County, as Beniach Construction workers began grading those roads Monday in preparation for oil-and-chipping later this week.
"I think by the time they get done, as we anticipated, they're going to be some of the best country roads, some of the best township roads, around here," said Mike Short, a trustee for Patton Township, one of two townships in Ford County that encompass the wind farm. The other townships involved are Button Township and Loda Township, the latter of which is in Iroquois County.
Perkinson said the road-use agreement between the company and the two counties requires the firm to grade the surface of all roads used to build the wind farm to a "smooth condition," then to put in three layers of oil-and-chip on top of the road after that.
The 1 mile of county road that was repaired was resurfaced with "hot mix," Perkinson said, but the work on the township roads, which originally began two weeks ago, was postponed until this week due to recent cool and rainy weather.
Perkinson said that if the weather cooperates, the oil-and-chipping could be done "within the month," but he expects a more likely completion date to be the end of June.
Perkinson said many of the township roads in Ford County appear to be in good shape despite the heavy truck traffic that they received during the construction of the 150-megawatt wind farm.
Other roads have "some minor potholes" and some "washboarding at some intersections."
But all the roads remain passable for traffic.
Iroquois County Highway Engineer Joel Moore said "the base itself is in good shape" for the township roads in his county that will be repaired.