An oversized load will be forced to take an alternate route to its final destination over concerns of its gigantic mass crossing a local bridge.
Next month Shell will be sending a new fluid catalytic cracking regenerator vessel to its manufacturing centre on the St. Clair Parkway. The unit clocks in at 311,800 pounds. Adding in the 70 foot long, 12 line, double-wide (24 axel) self-propelled modular transporter, the total weight of the move jumps to 575,000 pounds.
Mammoet, who is carrying out the move for Shell, says normally after starting at the Port of Sarnia and navigating through city streets the transport would head down Highway 40 to Lasalle Line before turning onto the parkway and into the Shell centre. But the sheer size of the vessel raised a serious engineering issue.
The regenerator is planned to enter the site at the main gate, south of the parkway stretch of Talfourd Creek Bridge. Measuring 100 feet long, this means the bridge would absorb the transport’s entire weight at once.
Dave Binkley, with the projects group for Mammoet, says a feasibility study found the bridge is a “main structure of great concern? putting these kind of forces through that.”
Coordinator of Operations Dave Neely says based on the engineering assessment, the bridge “might not be able to handle it.”
Another obstacle is the Talfourd Creek portion of bridge on Lasalle is under construction which would delay the move well into the fall.
These reasons, along with the Ministry of Transportation’s reluctance to close Highway 40 for an extended period of time, sunk the traditional route as an option.
Instead the unit will move through Corunna along Hill Street before turning north on the parkway. Prior to that it will wind through county roads to avoid the highway.
This raises plenty of other issues though including a necessary power outage. Binkley says during a previous transport from the Lafarge Dock in Courtright to the NOVA expansion many people missed the Hydro One robocalls informing them of the outage.
“They got a lot of very not so nice phone calls of people and their power being cut off,” Binkley says of the feedback Hydro One received. “They hadn’t listened to the robocall, they were scheduled to go to work the next morning, all of a sudden they sleep-in because their alarm clock resets.”
Binkley says since Hydro One couldn’t properly inform customers in the past, Mammoet will be renting construction signs along the route in the week prior to the move with a rolling message about the outage.
The Corunna section of the move, from the intersection of Hill Street and Polymoore Drive to the Shell gate, will take place between 11 pm to 4 am to limit disruption to residents through use of the roads and loss of power.
Mammoet will be providing eight workers to assist with traffic control and Sarnia Police will provide a two-officer escort from start to finish.
“These things are big, it can catch someone off guard looking and staring at it,” says Binkley. “Having additional manpower on the road as we’re doing the transport keeps everybody safe and at a good distance.”
Council unanimously approved the route although Mayor Steve Arnold says compensation for the township seems light given the size of the move.
“I think it’s pretty pathetic that we’re going through the middle of our largest section of community with a vessel off the top of a transport deck and seeing a $1,200 permit fee, disrupting all four lanes through Corunna and then keeping the parkway closed no matter what time of day it is.”
“We do have fire emergency vehicles that might have to be called out and that road is blocked. There’s certain parts once you’re in it, they can’t get out of town unless you go up to Lasalle or down to Rokeby Line? I think that’s something for Shell to consider in the future, that the community commitment fund could use some help,” says Arnold.
By Alex Kurial, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, THE INDEPENDENT