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In the last four months, 2,400 permits for over sized wind loads, including 332 in a single week in mid-October have been issued by the Minnesota Department of Transportation. With a focus on renewable energy, over sized semitrailer-load of wind turbine parts have been seen more often on Minnesota highways.

The turbine components generally arrive via ship at the port of Duluth and head to destinations in Iowa and other Upper Midwest states. Many of the parts are manufactured overseas, in places such as Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands by companies that include General Electric and Siemen.

The turbine tower typically is transported in three pieces, each about 80 feet long. The loads each weigh 232,000 pounds. The turbine blades are each typically 125-155 feet long. The nacelle, which houses the generator, is the size of a city bus.

There has already been one death in St Cloud as the result of an accident with one of the transports. St. Cloud sees a number of these trips as they move from Duluth to points across the Midwest.

Various state and local agencies will continue to monitor these trips as to speed and work to reduce future accidents. Lisa Linowes, executive director of the Industrial Wind Action Group, cited problems caused by large wind loads, including an incident in June in Texas when a truck hit a bridge abutment and caused irreparable damage.

If you are in an accident, make sure to get the names of anyone who indicates they saw what happened. If you witness an accident, check to see if everyone is OK and stay around or at least give the drivers your contact information. If you are injured, seek the advice of an attorney who does that kind of work and who can explain your coverages and rights.

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