SPMTs are wheeled wonders
By D.Ann Shiffler29 April 2020
In St. Charles Parish, LA, Deep South Crane & Rigging completed a huge vessel transport project in support of a major refinery upgrade. Key in the effort was to permit and transport five vessels from the Port of New Orleans to a St. Charles Refinery between July and December 2019.
The vessels included two 670,000-pound reactors that measured 145 feet long, 22 feet wide and 22 feet tall; a 435,000-pound depentanizer that measured 146 feet long, 19 feet wide and 19 feet 6 inches tall; an 880,000-pound depentanizer that measured 166 feet long, 23 foot 42 inches tall and 22 feet 8 inches wide; and a 670,000-pound deisobutanizer that measured 221 feet long, 20 feet tall and 23 feet wide.
Developing acceptable transport configurations and permitting through the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (LADOTD) for the vessel moves took close to a year. The Deep South team further coordinated with utilities to plan multiple line lifts and transmission outages and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to acquire permits for the barge roll off.
Barge roll off
Deep South received the vessels on barges and rolled off at the West Bonnet Carre Spillway dock. Once off the barge, the vessels were transported 3.6 miles to a laydown area in Montz, LA, where they were lifted using Deep South’s 800-ton VersaCrane gantries and 700-ton J&R gantries and trailers. All the vessels, except for the largest depentanizer, were transported to the plant using Scheuerle SPMT transporters and Goldhofer PST/SLE-E transporters.
The biggest challenge was the move of the 880,000-pound depentanizer across the 38-foot wide Bonnet Carre Spillway bridge and under an existing 24-foot 6-inch pipe rack to the plant, a distance of 4.5 miles. The transport team relied on nine 8-line Scheuerle SPMT systems in an open compound configuration to divide the load evenly across a bridge.
Custom notched saddles allowed the depentanizer to be lowered from a transport height of 30 feet 2 inches for the bridge crossing to below 24-feet 6 inches on split transporters, thus facilitating the move under the pipe rack – with just inches to spare.
“We used nine trailers to move the depentanizer across the 38-foot spillway bridge,” said Deep South’s Chris Warshaw. “The configuration was 34 feet wide and 160 feet long, leaving only 2 inches on each side.”
After crossing the bridge, the Deep South team removed the center trailers and lowered the vessel to cross under the pipe rack.
“This operation reduced the five-lane U.S. 61 highway to two lanes overnight,” said Warshaw. “We completed the move to the plant the following day.”
Deep South coordinated with local authorities to implement a traffic control plan throughout the transport operation to reduce congestion during the travel.