Hauling the first of two large refinery vessels for a plant expansion project was a cool move in more than one sense of the word for Mammoet Canada Western. Suncor's Simonette Gas Plant is northwest of Edmonton, in the remote area of northern Alberta, characterized by woods and mountains. And it was right in the middle of that no–man's land where a 176,000 pound amine contractor and a 372,000 pound inlet separator had to be delivered. The heaviest load was built in Edmonton and the other in Calgary. It is the first time a load of this magnitude has traveled in this area.
On receipt of the enquiry from its client, Mammoet worked closely with the infrastructure department to determine a suitable trailer configuration. All bridges on the route over public roads had to be analyzed by an independent engineer. One other bridge, on the 40 mile private road leading from the highway to the gas plant in the woods, was limited to 60 tons–hardly enough to handle the heaviest load. As both hauls were planned to happen in winter, the client proposed building an ice bridge. All calculations and investigations led to choosing a 10 line Scheuerle Inter Combi–type transporter, in 11/2–wide configuration, to carry the inlet separator, and a shorter, single–wide, eight– liner to haul the amine contractor. To comply with road regulations the Scheuerle modular trailers have a special longer wheelbase such that every other pair of pendulum axles in a four line module are left out of the trailer frame (see picture).
The amine contractor was transported to site first. Winter conditions, including snow and ice, in conjunction with steep climbs and downhill slopes, made the bush road less than ideal. The Mammoet crew prepared itself well and highly–experienced drivers were chosen.
Both push and pull tractors were fitted with tire chains and a Caterpillar D8 crawler dozer was on stand–by. As a precaution, on the steep and icy slope leading down to the river bank, the Cat was reversed and hooked to the back of the push truck to ofer more braking power. Once the bridge was crossed, and the convoy made its way up the steep winding road, the Cat was moved to the front to provide extra pulling power.
Th is first move was just a rehearsal for the big load a week later. Weather conditions were so mild that the private road and ice bridge had to be traveled at night when the temperature was well below freezing. While one pull– and two push–trucks provided traction, one D8 traveled on a lowbed. Before reaching the bridge it assisted on four hills. A second D8 was used for the safe descent to the ice bridge, while the two took the lead again when climbing the hill after that for the last 2.5 miles to site.
The amine contractor was of oaded and erected using a 440 tonne capacity Liebherr LTM 1400 telescopic mobile and a 177 ton capacity LTM 1160. On site a jack & slide crew was used to offload and install the vessel on its foundation.