Officials with the Iowa Department of Transportation said Tuesday, that the westbound I-80 rest area, located between Adair and Casey at milepost 80, will be closed beginning at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25th, until approximately 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 26th, weather permitting, for installation of a wind turbine blade. The rest area will be closed to allow the wind turbine blade to be installed on the facility’s grounds using two large cranes.
The blade will ultimately serve as a sculptural element on the site and be accompanied by an interpretive plaque. The blade and transportation to the site were donated to the State of Iowa by Siemens Energy of Fort Madison, Iowa. There will be no public viewing area for the wind blade installation. Parking on interstate highways and freeways is for emergencies only.
The rest area is located at the threshold of an Adair County wind farm. Visitors to the site will discover several design elements incorporated into the building and grounds that speak about energy and alternatives such as wind.
Iowa has become a national leader in the wind energy industry, employing many Iowans in this important energy sector and businesses throughout the state. The industry is a significant contributor to the state’s economy. According to the Iowa Wind Energy Association, the wind energy industry in Iowa currently employs at least 3,000 full-time workers in manufacturing, operation and maintenance of wind turbine components, with an estimated payroll of $70.2 million.
Iowa produces 20 percent of all the electricity generated in the state from wind turbines, ranking it first in the nation and second in the world. Siemens has a 600,000-square-foot wind turbine blade manufacturing facility in Fort Madison, serving as the largest employer in that community and Lee County with nearly 800 employees, contributing to the economic revitalization of the region.