Time crunches are a necessary evil in the realm of specialized transportation. Such was the case for Global Specialized Services and the transport of a 180,000-pound demethanizer tower that measured 162 feet long, 10 feet 6 inches wide and 10 feet 3 inches tall.
The original plan was to start the haul on December 31, 2017 to avoid holiday travel restrictions. But because the vessel wasn’t ready, the transportation plan would need to be altered.
To get the tower ready for hauling, GSS prepared the saddles, welding them to the turntables and assembling the dolly system. The manufacturer of the tower was ready to load out at 6 p.m. on January 3. GSS’s team wanted to get on the road as soon as possible, so they worked until 9:30 p.m. getting the vessel tied down, airlines strung out, flags and signs in place and all the related adjustments made so they could leave on schedule at 9 a.m. the next morning.
Through expert planning, the GSS team knew the first two days would be the toughest pulls for the Kenworth T800. Once they got on US 30 east of McCammon, ID it was uphill all the way to the Wyoming state line. There was also the steep Elk Mountain on I-80 to contend with and most of the grades through the mountainous terrain were more than 2 percent.
“We were blessed to have clear roads and good weather, which is unusual for this time of year in Idaho and Wyoming,” said GSS Transportation Manager, Matt Orr.
Hills and corners
Throughout the trip, some 35 corners had to be remotely steered around. Local police and sheriffs helped the crew get through narrow town streets and heavy traffic. Coordinating with these entities ahead of time made them more wiling to help when the load came through their jurisdiction.
“After completing an engineered drawing of turning radiuses and knowing that we needed to get into the final location, a major goal of ours was to keep the overall transport length under 200 feet,” said Orr. “Our way of solving this was to build high-rise saddles to get the skirt of the tower over the neck of the jeep, while keeping the vessel level for transport. We came in 8 feet 6 inches under 200 feet, which proved to be a blessing once we got to the site.”
Closer to the new refinery, one corner had to be widened with dirt crews and excavating equipment required.
For the project GSS chose its 2016 Kenworth T800 for its powerful hauling capability. GSS created a dolly system using a 2016 XL Specialized 10-foot wide 3-axle jeep and a 2015 Trail King 10-foot wide 6-axle rear steerable dolly. The full transport had 13 axles. GSS designed and fabricated saddles that were used to clear the front of the neck on the jeep and to keep the vessel level.
The transport weight was 258,000 pounds and had an overall length of 191 feet 6 inches. Total distance travelled was 1,290 miles through Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas and to the final site a new refinery in Minco, OK. They loaded out January 3 and arrived at the refinery on January 8.
The load was a challenge for all parties but Orr said it was all doable due to teamwork.
“Everyone worked together, with the knowledge and hard-working crew, it was completed without any incidents,” he said. “The manufacturer and customer on the receiving end could not be more pleased with the outstanding job done by our crew, as well as the timely delivery. This was a stepping stone for us as a company.”