If you've been downtown in recent days, you may have noticed some very long flatbeds carrying some big cargo tying up traffic.
It turns out that the trucks are carrying giant wind turbine blades bound for a new Wyoming County wind farm, and a routing error has been taking them through the heart of downtown Buffalo.
As recently as Wednesday, jumbo tractor-trailers carrying the 125-foot-long blades threaded their way from the Peace Bridge onto Niagara Street, around Niagara Square and up Delaware Avenue. The slow-moving blade convoys even managed to squeeze in a 90-degree left turn onto North Street, bound for the Kensington Expressway.
The turbine parts are being shipped from a Quebec manufacturing plant to the High Sheldon Wind Farm in Wyoming County, approximately 30 miles southeast of Buffalo.
"They were never supposed to be in Buffalo. It was a snafu with the trucking company, and the route has now been clarified, so it won't happen again," said Susan Dennison, communications manager for Invenergy LLC of Chicago, the company building the Sheldon project.
At least three other "wrong route" blades have snaked through downtown streets in the past two weeks.
It was not clear why drivers from Transport STS of Saint Catherine, Quebec, repeatedly chose the urban route instead of an easy exit from the Peace Bridge to the southbound Niagara Thruway when arriving in the city.
James Dentinger, president of McGuire Development, spotted the Wednesday blade shipment outside his office window at Delaware Avenue and Allen Street.
"I thought it was some kind of windmill blade. It was pretty odd to see something that big in the center of the city," Dentinger said.