MaximusApril 16, 2014
While you lot were all tucked up in bed last night, having spent the evening watching a blood red moon eclipse, the Fish was out and about, wondering at the sight of a massive pole being squeezed through tiny openings, and bent around corners.
At a diameter of 4.5m, and sitting on the coolest piece of truck I’ve seen for quite a while, while Wellington was fast asleep a crew of hard working wide load specialists were busy directing a section of a wind turbine tower from the Port, out to Ohariu Valley.
Easier said than done, and there is a definite reason to why they only do this at night – when this 80 tonne load slews around the corner, it blocks all sides of the road at the same time. It’s massive. I’m not sure how long, but this piece here is only half of it. And then there are the 3 blades for the turbine. I was going to stay up and watch them move those as well, as their trailer is even more silly / fantastic, but the rain started pouring down again, and to be honest, I was feeling like a Fish out of water. The only one not in a truck, without a hi-viz, and with no flashing lights.
Issues like getting past Parliament are relatively easy – yes, the wind turbines are taken from the Port, down into the very centre of our democracy, past the dude on the horse at the Cenotaph (I keep thinking he is King Dick Seddon, but I’m sure he is not. Perhaps he’s Alexander the Great?
But it is the getting under the bridges that is evidently the real issue. The load is 4.5m high, but that has to sit on a trailer, and some of our motorway and rail bridges are only just about 4.8m above the road deck, and so the trailer is specially designed to be able to hydraulically lower and to squat down to squeeze through. There was, literally, only millimeters to spare as the Scania from Tranzcarr pulled the load carefully under the rail bridges along the Hutt Road.
These barrels are just half the height of a single wind turbine stand, so they need to do two trips like this for each of the 50 turbines, and they need probably 3 trips for the blades as well. So all up – 50 turbines x 5 trips each = 250 late night road trips in total, with appropriate temporary road closures. Quite a massive operation.
The Scania is met by a mighty big grunty Mack truck at the bottom of Ngauranga Gorge, and this is connected to the front of the Scania with a steel pipe, so the two tractor units can haul the 80 tonne weight up the steep incline. Then they unbolt it on the highway near Johnsonville, and they roar along to Porirua, where I stopped tailing them, and they disappeared into the night to find the new back door to Ohariu Valley. Quite a mission – my congratulations to Tranzcarr.co.nz who seem to have this mission down perfectly, everyone knowing what they are doing, where and when. Minimal noise, minimum fuss, no issues, – no worries! A masterpiece of project management and engineering, and at the end of the day, powering Wellington.