Turbine parts on the move
EACH individual blade is longer than the wing of a Boeing 747 jumbo jet.
And from Wednesday, the first components of Neilston's controversial community windfarm project were trundling through Barrhead on their way to the village.
Each of the 12 blades is up to 147ft long, carried on a 137ft-long truck, and despite being made from lightweight materials including aluminium, individual parts weigh up to 15 tons.
Barrhead councillor Tommy Reilly said: "It will be a spectacle worth seeing - people can have their individual views on renewable energy but you can't deny it will be a spectacle.
"Even from a social history point of view there wont be anything like this going through Barrhead again in the near future."
Ships travelling from Germany carrying the blades for the turbines as well as the housings will be docking at Shieldhall's King George V dockyard near Govan over the next month.
The transporters, flanked by a police escort, will then travel at a crawl up the M8 towards Neilston in a journey that is expected to take two hours.
It is expected the majority of the deliveries through Neilston will take place from 6am to avoid rush hour.
Delivery of all the components is expected to take more than a month, possibly longer if the weather causes problems on the roads.
Pupils and teachers from Barrhead and Neilston schools have been invited to watch the transportation, which has required several areas of Barrhead and Neilston's road network to be modified - with one crucial turning at the junction of Neilston High Street and Kingston Road being extended by three metres to accommodate the turning circle of the massive loads.
Preparations have been under way for the past few weeks as road signs, street furniture and even trees are moved, replaced or trimmed to make room for the mammoth turbine parts.
Drivers have been asked to be patient should they encounter the lumbering loads over the course of the delivery month.
A spokeswoman from Strathclyde Police said: "Traffic will be monitored by police and traffic management will be put in place where necessary.
"We appreciate that slow-moving transports can slow traffic down and we ask that motorists remain patient."
The route for the blades follows Darnley Road on to Dovecothall roundabout, up Barrhead's Main Street before travelling along Neilston Road and into the village.
Neilston councillor Paul O'Kane said: "It's important these deliveries are done at the times that are going to cause the least disruption.
"The roadworks have caused a lot of disruption, but thankfully they have passed now.
"I'm glad the environmental impact in the town has been minimal and we have managed to not cut down any trees, and only a small amount of banking has been removed from the square.
"Overall, it is about short-term pain for long-term gain, and I think many people are now beginning to realise that this windfarm will have more benefits than drawbacks."
Initially the project came under heavy criticism, with many residents objecting.
The project is part-owned by the Neilston Development Trust, and while it will not provide power directly to the town, it will be connected to the national grid, with the four 360ft high turbines generating 10 megawatts of electricity - four times Neilston's current usage.
The community project is expected to see millions of pounds generated by the windfarm in its 25-year lifespan funnelled into local good causes and developments.
This article appeared in Barrhead News 31 Oct 12