Perkins was contracted to move two large modules from Plymouth, MN to Rosemount, MN in the middle of the night during late summer using the 150 ton perimeter frame dual lane loading trailer with a 70' well. The first piece had an overall height of 16' - 7" and overall weight of 499,000 lbs, while the second piece was had an overall height of 15' - 3" and overall weight of 513,000 lbs. The difference in height and weight of the two (2) pieces caused a 68 mile difference in the route! While a direct route by car would be 34.2 miles taking roughly 39 minutes, the first load's route had a total of 117 miles and took a total of 7.5 hours! The initial load required five (5) Perkins employees, two (2) MN state patrol, 20 turns, one (1) roundabout, one (1) low bridge (requiring us to stop and lower the load prior to going under), and tons of flawless communication.
It is rare and usually short-lived, but with no overhead obstructions, lateral roadblocks, or traffic our loads can travel up to a speed of 50 miles per hour. Slowing down and stopping is required to properly secure an area prior to an intersection, wrong-way, turn, curve, or roundabout, which lowers our overall average speed. The pilot car drivers are the eyes and ears for the equipment operators who are pulling and pushing the load. The equipment operators communicate constantly to inform each other of speeds and needs for the load. The field supervisor is out front to communicate oncoming traffic, bumps, hills, obstructions, and crew duties. Route surveys help familiarize the crew with concerns prior to travel, so little is left unknown. Intersections are definitely not all the same.
The diagrams above illustrate a few examples of intersections to anticipate for planning a successful maneuver of a turn (or roundabout). When our modular trailers make a turn all the components of the trailer must work together, as you will see from the video below. The direction of travel, the size of the load, obstructions, such as traffic lights, medians, wires, and bridges give yet another dimension to consider when planning a route and executing a project.
Here is a video of many turns for the first module mentioned above that travelled at night, in the rain, and into the morning. This project was completed on time and without incident.
It is a special treat when we have the opportunity to load, secure, travel, and deliver all within our home state of Minnesota. Various employees from many departments got to see first-hand how their roles are directly connected to this industrial ballet we do on a regular basis. On the flip side we work with state patrol and permitting offices regularly who may only be involved for one small portion of a project, so to get to work with whole thing from start to finish gives a better understanding of what our needs are and how they vary from project to project. Hope we can do it again soon! A special thanks to everyone involved who helped make this another successful project.