Massive 'Stator' Rolls Onto Virginia Dominion Power's New Plant Site After Long Journey

Jul 8, 2010

ST. PAUL — A 400-ton component of a giant power generator was delivered successfully early Wednesday to Virginia Dominion Power’s new power plant in Wise County.

Called a stator, the monster unit was trucked overland from a river port in Knox County to Wise County over the past two-plus weeks. The combined weight of the stator and the special hauling rig was 640 tons.

The stator’s journey began halfway around the world after its manufacture by Toshiba in Japan. It was then shipped to Port Allen, La., and taken by barge to a dock on the French Broad River east of downtown Knoxville, where it arrived in February.

Six months of planning went into the final overland leg of its journey to Dominion’s Virginia Hybrid Energy Center being built just over a ridge from downtown St. Paul in Wise County. The $1.8 billion, 585 megawatt, coal-fired power plant is to be operational in 2012.

The outfit crossed the entire breadth of both Lee and Wise counties over U.S. Route 58-A and a portion of U.S. Route 23 from Big Stone Gap to Norton. The rig measured 265 feet long, 22 feet wide and over 17 feet high.

The hauling rig was powered by two monster trucks manufactured by the Pacific Truck & Trailer Co., “Big Daddy” at 700 horsepower and “Big John” at 600 horsepower.

When passing through Big Stone Gap last week, the rig was greeted by residents with a late-night parade partying mood.

“The stator’s arrival puts one more big piece in place,” said Dominion project manager Charlie Scott of the Virginia City power plant project. “This effort required a tremendous amount of teamwork, planning and coordination from numerous resources as well as local and state agencies in Virginia and Tennessee.

“Dominion greatly appreciates the efforts of all who made this accomplishment possible.”

Numerous state police units, utility bucket trucks and escort vehicles of Barnhart Crane & Rigging — the heavy haul company in charge of the overland move — accompanied the rig on its journey.

Barnhart manager Tim Fielder said the Knoxville-to-Wise County haul was the longest of this weight in the 41-year history of his company.

The rig and generator component were also one of the largest loads to ever travel Virginia highways, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

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