Transporting heavy loads are nothing new for Barnhart, but a recent multistate job was nearly one for the record books.
Barnhart was hired to transport an energy tower, also known as a deisobutanizer, more than 1600 miles to a refinery in Superior, Wisconsin. The journey started in Oklahoma City, where the tower had been fabricated and insulated.
Two cranes loaded the tower onto a 6 and 10-line EastTrac. When the pull and push truck were added, the entire convoy was 280’ long. The rig had 24 total axles, 156 tires and weighed nearly 700,000 lbs.
The vehicles and crew of 17, which included police escorts and bucket trucks, left Oklahoma City on Oct. 25. The trip to Superior was more than 1600 miles and wound through six states. The convoy could only travel at a maximum speed of 35 mph on a route that was mostly two-lane roads.
Barnhart worked with the Department of Transportation (DOT) in each state to find a route that would pass bridge analysis. On one bridge crossing from Minnesota into Wisconsin the DOT required the crew to remove the push truck in order to reduce the overall gross weight while crossing the bridge. Due to the length of the transport, several light poles, signal lights, road signs and stop signs were removed at intersections along the way to allow the convoy to make turns.
The sight of a 280-foot-long convoy drew many onlookers as it traveled through various communities. A local school in Superior brought out their students on the sidewalk to watch it pass on the final leg of the trip.
The crew finally arrived at the refinery on Nov. 10th after a trip of 16 days and offloaded the tower. Once assembled, the tower will be 200 feet tall and weigh 130 tons.
It was a project that was nearly history-making. According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, the haul was the second largest load ever to enter the state.