The heaviest single piece of equipment ever to move on Washington highways came through the Port of Longview recently and will require a trailer as long as a football field to move it to its destination in Central Washington.
Portland-area heavy equipment mover Omega Morgan is partnering with the Washington State Patrol and Klickitat County Sheriff’s Office to move a windmill transformer that weighs nearly 1 million pounds from the town of Roosevelt to a wind farm in Goldendale.
The transformer was originally shipped into the Port of Longview, where it was loaded on a train and shipped to the Columbia River Gorge, said Celeste Dimichina, a spokeswoman for the Washington State Department of Transportation.
The transformer is extremely heavy but not that long. To spread the weight out so it does’t damage roads or bridges, it is suspended from a trailer measuring 360 feet long and 21 feet high.
For comparison, 1 million pounds is about the weight of 11 or 12 loaded log trucks or about 300 cars.
The transformer, which is owned by the Bonneville Power Administration, will travel nearly 40 miles of state highway to its final destination. From Roosevelt, its route will be westbound on SR 14 and 10 miles north on US 97.
“It’s not that far, but because it’s so heavy and so long, it will take two evenings to get it done,” Dimichina said Friday.
The transformer was shipped from South Korea to the Port of Longview on the cargo vessel Heino, said Ashley Helenberg, port spokesperson. After arriving in Longview, the transformer was put on the railway Thursday.
“The direct-to-rail service with a direct connection to class one railroads is a unique feature to the Port of Longview,” Helenberg said.
Direct-to-rail service allows the port to move cargo from vessels to the railroad without crossing any major roadways. Helenberg said this ability meant the Port of Longview had the best resources “within the proximity of the project” to transfer the transformer from its shipment to Roosevelt.
“The ability to get it off the road and onto rail for most of its route creates less disruption to traffic,” Helenberg said.
SR 14 will be fully closed between Roosevelt and the SR14/US97 interchange from 10 p.m. Monday until 4 a.m. Tuesday. There will also be intermittent closures with flagger-controlled traffic on eastbound SR 14 near Dallesport and on both directions of US 97 between Toppenish and the SR 14-US 97 interchange during those hours.
From 10 p.m. Tuesday until 4 a.m. Wednesday, both directions of US 97 between the SR 14/US 97 interchange and Hoctor Road in Goldendale will have intermittent closures with flagger-controlled traffic.
“When flaggers feel like it’s a safe enough time that traffic can come through, they will start allowing traffic to come through,” Dimichina said.
The load will travel overnight to reduce the effect on traffic.
“We are trying not to hold traffic for too long, and because it’s overnight, traffic volumes should be relatively low,” Dimichina said.
Dimichina asks that travelers these highways be patient as the organizations transport the super load.
“If people are going to be traveling in those areas on those two evenings, expect delays,” Dimchinia said. “It’s not because we want to hold people up, it’s for their safety, as well as the safety for the people moving the equipment.”