KAHULUI - The big trucks rumbled to life Tuesday evening near Kahului Airport, churning up dust and beginning the slow haul of "superloads" of wind turbine pieces to Ulupalakua.
But to Patrick Moseley, a driver with IRH, Intermountain Rigging & HeavyHaul, trucking wind turbine components for Sempra U.S. Gas & Power's Auwahi Wind project was just another day's work.
"It's pretty routine. It's a standard move," he said. "We've got a little bit of turns and things we're going to be taking a lot of care (of), and making slow. We don't want to wreck any trees or any sidewalks."
Moseley of Salt Lake City said truck drivers have practiced the route.
"We've been over it and over it repeatedly, measuring and calculating our turn radiuses," he said, adding that the big trucks would pull over to make way for traffic behind them.
The hauling of the first loads of wind turbine components, which followed a blessing, marked a milestone in Sempra and BP Wind Energy's project to construct eight turbines on the wind-rich southeastern flank of Haleakala on Ulupalakua Ranch land. Eventually, the project will generate 21 megawatts or enough power for 10,000 homes.
Outfitted with ti plants for good luck, a Tri Isle Inc. truck begins hauling a wind turbine hub from a Central Maui staging area to Hansen Road early Tuesday evening. It is the first of 56 oversized “superloads” of wind turbine components that will be trucked from Kahului to Ulupalakua Ranch land over the next six weeks. No more than three loads per day will be on Maui roads from 5 to 10 p.m. Monday to Friday.
The Maui News / BRIAN PERRY photo
The delivery of "superloads" of turbine components will continue over six weeks, with a total of 56 oversized loads making their way from the Central Maui staging area to Ulupalakua.
The planned route is west on Hansen Road, south on Mokulele Highway, east on Piilani Highway and going makai down Wailea Ike Drive to Wailea Alanui Drive and finally from Makena Alanui Road to the private Papaka Road and then uphill to the Upcountry Piilani Highway.
The route is subject to change. Earlier plans to haul the superloads on Hana Highway and Dairy Road were changed at the last minute.
To minimize traffic impacts, loads are being taken between 5 and 10 p.m. Monday to Friday.
Sempra spokesman Scott Crider said safety is a top priority for the transportation of the wind generator components.
"We are working with several public agencies to ensure that all necessary transportation safety measures are in place and have taken steps to minimize traffic impacts," he said. "We look forward to providing a new source of clean energy to Maui residents when Auwahi Wind is completed later this year."
* Brian Perry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.