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Mail carrier says roads fixed by wind farm speed his route

Staff writer

Steve Jirak lives just outside Diamond Vista Wind Farm’s boundaries, but he is the mail carrier there and his route runs all the way to the county line.

Jirak said the roads used by the wind farm company, Enel Green Power, during the project’s construction are “exquisite,” but a couple of spots west of Indigo Rd. are bad.

A stretch of 340th Rd. between Eagle and Falcon Rds. becomes a big mud hole when it rains. Jirak said it is a rock road but it hasn’t been graded since July 4, and the tracks get deeper and deeper.

“I have to take a detour when it’s wet,” he said. “One time I had to threaten to withhold mail before they did something about it.”

He said Enel has placed fresh rock on quite a few dirt roads, which saves him a lot of miles.

“I used to go 32 extra miles when it was muddy,” he said. “Now it’s half that much.”

David Mueller lives west of Limestone Rd. on 340th Rd. and is happy with the improvements Enel has made to the county’s roads. He said he used to have to leave his car at the corner and use a 4-wheel drive pickup to get to his yard.

He has been the liaison between landowners and Enel for 1½ years and has taken a lot of phone calls.

“I’m not from outside the county,” he said. “These are my neighbors, so I tried to do my best to address their concerns.”

Mueller said the company had been giving landowners rock for their own use, as approved by commissioners.

County clerk Tina Spencer brought the minutes of the June 24 meeting to the commission room last week that showed a consensus agreement to allow landowners to travel non-approved haul route roads when taking rock to their property.

“After discussion, the consensus of the board was to allow local landowners to travel non-approved haul routes in order to claim donated materials from the project without being subject to fines,” the minutes read.

County commissioner Dianne Novak said she is 100 percent behind that consensus.

“I’m all for landowners getting as much rock as they can,” she said. “I’ve always been supportive of the land owners.”

She has accused Enel of violating its road use agreement. She claimed she snapped pictures on her cell phone of at least three semis owned by a private trucking company being loaded with rock at a lay down yard on Indigo Rd.

She said she followed the trucks as they drove south on Indigo Rd. to 330th, a black top, then west to K-15 and north out of the county to a rock pile near Abilene. Driving on the blacktop broke the road use agreement, she said.

Mueller thinks the county and Enel are working through the remaining issues.

“They are trying to get the roads back to the county,” he said.

His contract with Enel ends Thursday.

Last modified Oct. 31, 2019

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