Garden City serves as a transportation hub to deliver parts for turbines for 500 miles

By Scott Aust Staff writer saust@gctelegram.com

GARDEN CITY − The huge blades that power wind turbines cast imposing figures while rolling down the highway on their way to a construction site.

There's a good chance, if those parts are headed to a wind farm in the Midwest, they're coming from a truck that started in Finney County.

Transportation Partners & Logistics is an offloading and distribution site for wind generation components, and it operates on Jennie Barker Road and U.S. Highway 50, serving the wind farm industry in a 500-mile radius of Garden City.

All of the parts that make up the giant windmills — blades, hubs, the machine heads that turn the rotors, and tower pieces — are delivered from TP&L via trucks to construction sites in Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska and as far away as Wisconsin.

TP&L President Jim Orr said in an August interview that the company chose Garden City because it's dead-center in the wind belt, a swath of the country that runs roughly from New Mexico to Louisiana and Texas to Canada.

TP&L started on 10 acres in 2011 and, in just five years, grew to cover 240 acres, keeping turbine blades, tower sections, generators and other components on site.

The company has added more space in the past six months with the creation of a new transload shipping center that serves not only the company's wind component business but will provide an economical and efficient means of transporting aggregate material for KDOT and other street and road projects in western Kansas.

It will be used as a location for rail-to-truck, and vice versa, product shipping.

Orr said last fall that the project will expand the operaton to well over 600 acres.

Finney County Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Lona DuVall said the county has certainly received its own share of wind-related benefit due to the presence of TP&L.

It has also paid off for area wind farm development, DuVall said, through a reduction in equipment transportation and storage costs.