How To Move A 803,000 lb. Generator 170 Miles

Jun 25, 2010

If you spot a 1,000ft convoy with a spectacular 225 foot, 56-axle, two semi-tractor rig at the center, it's moving a gigantic 400 ton steam turbine from Tennessee to Virginia at 8 MPH.

How do you get an 803,000 lb steam generator from Japan to a coal-fired power plant in St. Paul, Virginia? Very slowly. Dominion Virginia Power purchased the massive machine, which traveled from Japan on a cargo ship, then up the Mississippi on a barge, and now Barnhart Crane and Rigging Company is undertaking the final 170 mile transfer into Virginia. To move something big you need something big, and they're certainly using some big stuff.

Barnhart is using a 23-foot wide, 225-foot long heavy lift trailer with two 1000 plus horsepower semi-tractors pushing and pulling the rig. In total, the transport rig alone weighs in around 240 tons, 640 tons with the generator nestled into the the carrier cradle. That weight is distributed over 24 dollys, with 56 axles and some 224 tires all tied together with a proportionally controlled hydraulic steering system.

Supporting the massive transporter is a more than 1,000 foot convoy of vehicles, ranging from police escorts, spotters, electric crews to raise overhead power lines, bridge and road inspectors to watch for unexpected damage to the infrastructure, and anxious overseers from the seller and purchaser. It's taken more than $2.5M in infrastructure upgrades along the route to even support the weight of this transport, and a $15M bond to insure against damage along the way.

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