Wind turbine

A truck hauling part of a giant wind turbine waits in the middle of Route 101 for a train to pass on May 22.

LAST month, a ship arrived in Portsmouth that contained giant components for a new wind farm being built in Antrim. The pieces of the wind farm were removed from the ship and trucked one by one from Portsmouth to Antrim.

Closing the Deal by Christopher Thompson

These components aren’t an ordinary load you’d see being hauled by a truck. They were gigantic tubes, and I couldn’t even begin to guess their actual size. They were so large, they required a special set of wheels to be attached to the rear of the tube, and the front section of the tube was attached to a traditional trailer and connected to a semi-trailer truck.

The tubes were so wide, they took up more than one lane of the road. This meant that on a typical New Hampshire road, cars couldn’t drive by it. The solution was to have state troopers flank the side of the truck and drive slowly along side the gigantic tube so drivers were unable to pass from either side. There was another state trooper ahead of the truck stopping oncoming traffic until the truck and its load passed by.

Because of their size and weight, the trucks had to go extremely slowly and be extra cautious on turns. In addition, any sizable hill caused the truck to go even slower as it struggled to pull the unusually large load. And this meant that every car that got stuck behind these giant tubes was forced to go less than half of the posted speed limit, and in some cases, drive for several miles at between 10 to 20 miles an hour.

You’re probably wondering what this has to do with business. It does — more than you know — because over the last few weeks, these gigantic tubes were driven from Portsmouth to Antrim during the middle of the morning rush hour. This caused hundreds, if not thousands of people to be late for work.

And we’re not talking a few minutes. During one of the days I ended up stuck behind one, I was over an hour late getting into the office and was forced to cancel several important meetings. To me, this is completely unacceptable.

These types of projects require a lot of people, smart thinking and creative logistics. But I don’t know who in their right mind would make a decision to block traffic during the middle of the morning commute and cause so many people to be late for work.

And unless I missed it, there was no public announcement or notification about when and where these trucks would be causing traffic disruptions. It has to go down as the most horrible decision I’ve ever witnessed related to New Hampshire roadways.

Why couldn’t you transport the components at night? Or during the middle of the day, when most people aren’t driving to work? What about the weekend, when there is less traffic? It just makes no sense to me.

I’m all for clean energy and projects that are good for the environment and the economy. But I seriously struggle with bad decisions that negatively affect large numbers of people, especially when alternative, more logical solutions are available.

Christopher Thompson (christhompsnh@gmail.com) writes Closing the Deal weekly.

Monday, November 18, 2019