DOUBLE TAKE ON THE INTERSTATE

Hauling oversized cargo sometimes requires some unusual solutions. In this instance, Barnhart was hired to transport nine components, one of which was a 200’ long column vessel, from a fabricator to a fracking unit at a refinery in Texas. The journey of this vessel was recently featured in Waterways Journal.  

The column was manufactured at a shop connected to the Houston ship channel where it was loaded onto a barge. It was barged to Freeport, Texas and offloaded to two 12-axle EastTrac trailers. The total length of the convoy including the trucks was 317’ long. The column was then hauled 50 miles to the plant site.   

But the last leg of the trip was almost a bridge too far. At 800,000 pounds, the cargo was too heavy to cross the Hwy. 35 bridge over the San Bernard River. The Texas Department of Transportation required that Barnhart used both sides of the bridge – all four lanes. 

According to JC Lake, operations manager of the Houston branch, “After we measured and checked that it would fit on both bridges, the engineers were able to pass us on the permit,” he said.

Barnhart used a paved crossover to get the load separated. Ten road signs had to be removed around the bridge. Both ends of the column vessel were on 300-ton turntables to help maneuver the cargo.  

There was enough length between the bolsters to successfully get the two trailers on each bridge span. While the bridge was closed to north and southbound traffic, the load made its way across the bridge at 5 mph. It cleared the guardrails by approximately four feet. The team used a paved crossover on the other side to get the convoy back together.

Once at the site, the team offloaded the vessel to jack stands and placed it on 12-line PST’s for transport into the plant.

About Meredith Portman

Meredith Portman is a freelance writer who specializes in heavy industry, healthcare and education.
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