Grafton & Upton Railroad To Move Giant Tank Through Streets

  • Comments (23)
Jon Delli Priscoli, left, and Dennis Flynn share the lectern at the Grafton Board of Selectmen meeting.
Jon Delli Priscoli, left, and Dennis Flynn share the lectern at the Grafton Board of Selectmen meeting. Photo Credit: Richard Price
Kathy Ryan speaks to the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday.
Kathy Ryan speaks to the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday. Photo Credit: Richard Price
A Google map image shows the truck route for the tank delivery in Grafton.
A Google map image shows the truck route for the tank delivery in Grafton. Photo Credit: Richard Price

GRAFTON, Mass. — The first of four 80,000-gallon propane tanks will arrive in Grafton by truck Thursday afternoon, Grafton & Upton Railroad owner Jon Delli Priscoli, announced Tuesday during the selectmen meeting, stunning selectmen, residents and a police chief who will face a potential traffic jam.

The speed of the construction of the propane transfer site, which is being done without the input of local officials because of presumed federal railroad exemption laws, quickly turned the meeting into a shouting match.

“He explained to the town, this wouldn’t happen till January,” said Stephen and Kathy Ryan of Waterville Circle. “This involves a lot of people: There are 60 homes and there is a nearby school.”

Although many knew the tanks were coming, Delli Priscoli told the town in earlier meetings that it would be next month. That timeline has accelerated because the tanks were finished ahead of schedule.

The tank, which is about 14 feet high and weighs 225,000 pounds, will eventually store 80,000 gallons of propane fuel on the site located off Westborough Road and North Main Street. Three additional tanks will be delivered on Dec.18, 19 and 20.

The truck route will exit Route 20 to Route 122 and travel slowly through North Grafton, past Wyman Gordon, turn left onto Bridge Street, left onto North Main Street, right onto Waterville Street, and then left onto Westborough Road to the site. The exact time is not known but, under contract, it will be no later than 3:30 p.m.

The tank will be moved by LPG Ventures, a propane tank specialist based in Raytown, Mo., and will be escorted by Massachusetts State Police.

The route, which will originate in Fall River, has been carefully planned with every street corner reviewed and approved by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, said John Holstein, a consultant for Grafton & Upton Railroad. Originally, the tank was to be moved overnight, when fewer cars are on the road, but the plan was changed.

The daytime schedule announcement was “a whole new thing,” Police Chief Normand A. Crepeau Jr. said. He promised Grafton police officers will be on hand to help. “This will create issues,” he said, referring to traffic flow.

No fuel will be stored until the Federal Railroad Board and the U.S. Fire Administration, plus state and local fire officials, have reviewed the final construction, Delli Priscoli said. That will be in the spring, he said.

Delli Priscoli also said he had no control over the tank delivery, and he was surprised that people did not know this.

“We’ve discussed this at every meeting,” he said.

Dennis Flynn,  who built a house that overlooks the site, was appalled at how poorly the town has communicated with the neighborhood.

“You need to learn how to talk to us,” he said.

Stephen and Kathy Ryan say the speed of the site’s progress gives them a sense of powerlessness.

“It’s presented as if we don’t have a choice,” said Kathy Ryan. “We don’t know how much of an investigation has been done into this.”

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Comments (23)

People want to hear what they want to hear. Mr. Flynn states that he built a house overlooking the G&U site...on purpose? Might be helpful to the gen public to know specifically where he is located, to see whether there is a legit concern, or whether this is more NIMBY knee-jerk reaction to what is going on. There was already one comment from a poster at the Telegram, who I recognized the name, and know that this person lives well away from the G&U RR location, even though his comments would suggest otherwise. When you have the owner of the RR stating that he has discussed everything at the meeting, with people still stating that 'you need to learn to talk to us', clearly there is a disconnect with people expecting to be told everything with no responsibility on them to engage communication, or people have heard and didn't like what they heard, and refuse to accept what is being said.

This guy is shady beyond belief and uses the "railroad card" to do what ever the hell he wants. Its about time someone stands up to this clown, I don't know of ANY town residents that would want this place in their backyard . . .

If the DailyVoice decides to do any more background research and reporting on Mr. Priscoli's business practices, he does have prior history in Grafton. In the mid-1990's, he was the developer of Hassanamesit Village (the Elliot Trail neighborhood). He essentially abandoned the development halfway through, leaving many home-buyers and the Town of Grafton high and dry. It meant some homeowners had to literally "buy" their new homes at pubic auction on their front lawns in 1998. It also meant that the rest of the development and convenants were out the window as other developers such as Mr. Magill stepped in to take over individual parcels. What a mess that was.

It seems there's been a very strong lack of communication on someones part. Mr. Delli Priscoli seems to be saying that his communication has been up front and honest. The Town fathers have not seemed to deny that. Obviously, a delivery schedule change, is kind of a surprise but does it really matter what day this tank arrives?
I believe the important question here is, where is the representation from the State level? Why is there not some sort of liaison appointed to this type of project?
Let's face it. If the DOT wants to rearrange a simple traffic pattern on a particular highway there are always several Engineers, Consultants, Supervisors, Foreman and many other "officials" involved.
Perhaps there's a "hush" order????? Hope not.

"past Wyman Gordon, turn left onto Bridge Street, left onto North Main Street, right onto Waterville Street, "

Can someone PLEASE video this??? I've seen 32' UPS trucks not make this turn - 120' should be fun to watch.

' under contract, it will be no later than 3:30 p.m. ' -- really, it's probably by DOT regs :

Vehicles between 12' and 14' wide, over 80' but not exceeding 114' in length and over 13' 11" height may travel under permit only during daylight house (sunrise and sunset) except that no such travel shall be allowed between the hours of 7:00 A.M. - 9:00 A.M. and 3:30 P.M. - 7:00 P.M., Monday through Friday.

Vehicle over 14' wide, and/or over 115' long may travel between hours of 9:30 A.M. - 3:30 P.M. and only Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Length: 115'
Width: 14'
Height: 14'(over 13' 8" high requires a route survey)

I was thinking the same thing. 15 years of truck driving tells me that unless they have 360 degrees of maneuverability (special trailers like they used for the space shuttle" They can forget about that turn at bridge street. I may take the day off just to come and watch them try that.
I saw another crew work a ~20' high turbine for a Nuclear power station up a main road in PA one time... they had a lot guys working controls on some 30 axles that turned 360 degrees in place.

Hopefully Grafton and G/U RR can get on the same page. Business if good for a small town but what's the real reason the BOS is blocking? Is it a Nimby issue? If so they're probably SOL. A little late in the game for that isn't it?

Are there any regulations for vehicles on town-owned roads? What if the Town of Grafton decided they need to close Waterville St. for some maintenence Tomorrow?

That would probably escalate things unnecessarily, and maybe get the town sued, though... hehe.

so if it isn't off the road by 3:30 on Thursday, it sits somewhere until next Tuesday.

I'm also intrigued by the shipping of this large product in 2012 vs 2013 - any new laws coming into effect on 1/1/2013? Any old incentives expiring on 12/31/2012? If this is deemed the 'installation' of a green fuel depot, as long as one tank is in place, on the property 12/31/12, maybe some tax incentives? might be on to something...

Our Board of Selectmen should get on record now - that they have formally and in writing - instructed Graftons' Town Manager to start making some very important calls, on behalf of the Town of Grafton.... There is no time to waste, this particular project has just too many negative ramifications (for the Town and its people) - to let it proceed as is - we really need to get in the loop with those who are overseeing this project, before it is up and running! We may not be facing a "Fiscal Cliff", but we certainly are about to take a plunge into the unknown!!!

uh, how long are the tanks?

120 feet in length

I'm really hoping the people of N. Grafton don't react to the Railroad in the harsh manner that the people of Upton have. Business is business. Jon has been quite open with the town and now he's being harangued for his time frame getting moved up by 3 weeks? Things can change on a moment's notice, especially when relying on public officials for tasks such as moving these tanks. This is typical business, folks. There's a good reason railroads are preempted from local permitting laws- projects like this would have never occurred! And honestly, let's be real- having storage tanks inspected by a dozen gov't officials is much more safe than dozens of trucks on the road.

Let's see if we have our ducks in a row:
1) The town does not appear to have regulatory authority over the railroad. Sorry...I know this is difficult to accept. But, that's the law.
2) The Feds (Surface Transportation Board, Environmental Protection Authority) DO have regulatory authority. So...
3) The Town needs to engage their State Senators, such as Senator Moore, State Representative (Mr. Peterson), and their Federal Senators and Representatives (Sen Kerry and Sen Warren) to ensure the STB and EPA to do their jobs. The Feds need to review all plans and schedules and do their onsite inspections.
Thus, a phone call from our TA, and perhaps a FAX from our BoS to each of these elected reps would seem to be an immediate need.

I agree with all your points. The town should make sure that all the federal permits and licenses are in place.

Excellent plan of action Grommit! This is the most realistic, actionable approach I've seen yet.

Great points Grommit!! This is the time we MUST get our State and Federal lawmakers on board, to be sure all is done properly. The next meeting of the BOS should have all these people there, or their representatives to answer all the residents questions and concerns.

I think it is time that the BOS and the town slowed things down a little. It is obvious the past few weeks that this guy is treating our town without respect. They should have some permit and should have contacted our police department on this as it will be a traffic issue.

As for the Government inspectors whom some people in this town have such respect for, look at what happened yesterday in W. Virginia.

I hope someone stands up against this guy because doe not care one bit about being a good neighbor. He is walking all over us. Our state reps should be looking into this along with our Fed. representatives. From what I see from his actions, he better be following all the federal processes and we should be confirming with the Federal inspectors that they have done their job.

As of this hour, there is nothing in any of the stories from West Virginia that places blame on anyone or anything for the WV gas LINE explosion - let along placing any blame on Government inspectors - maybe in one's attempts to spread fear of the unknown we should 1) disconnect the natural gas line serving the new high school, 2) rethink the "Honeywell" project about converting the schools over to natural gas, and 3) shut down the Tennessee gas pipeline that goes through Grafton

Watch The Burbs with Tom Hanks and you'll be scared out of your wits to ever use natural gas in your home! +1 for the oil companies on that one.

Wake up people of North Grafton and our neighbors of Shrewsbury! Seems Delli Priscoli is accelerating construction, working on Sunday. Peaceful Sunday no longer with construction equipment noise starting early. Contact all of your local, state and federal representatives with your concerns. If one 80,000 tank lets go, damage will reach anywhere within 6/10 of a mile. Times four, about 1.5 miles!

Delli Priscoli is not a good neighbor, although he believes he is. Property values will plummet, insurance coverage may be canceled, heavy truck traffic will increase on Westboro Road from the depot to the intersection of Waterville Street on a road that is narrow and winding.

We need to stop this intrusion to our neighborhood!
Get involved, do not be complacent!

If the 1.5 miles is correct, that is getting pretty close to our level 3 biolab. Maybe he is rushing this project because he knows something is not proper.

Again, I am all for businesses but this is pulling the wool over our eyes.