Laurel residents and interstate passersby may have noticed a number of large cranes dotting the skyline around town for the past couple of months. Perhaps you have seen the huge rigs around the rail yard from the nearby Walmart parking lot or from Old Hwy 10/Main Street. They're hard to miss.

Credit: Michael Foth ~ Townsquare Media Billings

If you take a closer look, you can see that the heavy equipment and cranes are on-site to unload entire trainloads of windmill parts. Last week, I noticed a mile-long train idling on the tracks east of Laurel that was nothing but gigantic windmill blades.

Credit: Michael Foth ~ Townsquare Media Billings

Earlier in August, there were more trains hauling sections of the massive tube assemblies that make up the tower portion of the windmills.Yet, more trains arrived with dozens of the main gearbox assemblies (each is larger than an RV).

Credit: Michael Foth ~ Townsquare Media Billings

The Montana Rail Link yard office in Laurel is the loading and transfer point for these over-sized windmill parts. The Laurel Outlook reported that crews have been working since July on the project, unloading the giant pieces from rail cars and transferring them to specialized semi-truck trailers.

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It's all part of the Pryor Mountain Wind Project, a $406 million dollar endeavor with 114 windmills east of Bridger, MT that will generate 841,000 MWh/year when complete. An average home uses about 11 megawatts per year. A July 30 article in the Carbon County News said the project was on schedule for completion this year.

Credit: Michael Foth ~ Townsquare Media Billings

JMS Crane and Rigging of Billings (with offices in Casper, WY and Soda Springs, ID) are the crane operators on-site.