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Big load making its way to Virginia power plant

Dec 16, 2013



BY KEVIN CASTLE | BRISTOL HERALD COURIER |

ABINGDON, Va. - A Tennessee company that specializes in hauling heavy transports for industrial clients is making the first of five scheduled trips to a Virginia power plant this weekend with a huge delivery in tow.

A boiler that is an estimated 22 feet wide and 200 feet long will have a Virginia State Police escort as it’s transferred to an electric power facility in Southwest Virginia, Barnhart Crane and Rigging Heavy Haul Manager Ragan Watson said Friday. The name of the company receiving the equipment was not released for privacy reasons, he said.

The huge package is being taken to its destination with a pull-push method, Watson said, because of the region’s mountainous terrain and the massive weight being hauled with a rig in the front and another rig attached to the back of the trailer.

The load was parked Friday at the trucks-only rest station on Interstate 81 just outside of Exit 14 in Abingdon after traveling several hours earlier in the day.

"Having a push truck when going through a region like this and the weight we are carrying allows us to maintain a little bit higher speed, which helps with traffic flow and mitigates traffic backing up. It’s also a safety factor, so if one of the trucks has a mechanical issue or a flat tire, the other truck can help push or pull the load off to a safe location and out of the way of traffic,” Watson said.

This trip marks the third oversized delivery the Memphis, Tenn.-based company has made to the region, according to the company representative.

The last two trips were made in July and August 2010, when components of the Virginia City Hybrid Energy Center plant were carried from Tennessee to Wise County, Va., just outside the town of St. Paul.
One of those convoys, Watson said, was, unofficially, one of the largest items every transported on Virginia’s highway system. A stator generator used in electricity production that weighed in at 400 tons was part of a trip that required street lights in Big Stone Gap to be taken down in order to get it through the town and further into the county.

Virginia law requires the company to make the trip at night and Watson said the journey will resume late tonight.

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