|The heaviest object ever transported by road in Manitoba -- a 175,000-kg electrical transformer -- will be driven from its Winnipeg manufacturer, CG Power Systems Canada's plant, to a Manitoba Hydro substation just east of the city in a trek that will take three days. The move started Sunday, Nov. 4, 2012. (QMI Agency/HOWARD WONG)
WINNIPEG - It’s the mother of all Manitoba moving jobs. And if you see it coming, get out of the way.
The heaviest object ever transported by road in this province — a 175,000-kilogram electrical transformer, weighing nearly as much as a 747-400 jumbo jet — will be driven from its Winnipeg manufacturer to a Manitoba Hydro substation just east of the city in a logistically difficult trek taking three days.
And once that’s done, two more transformers like it will be trucked — or rather, trailered — to the same place through the same painstakingly slow and careful process.
“It is a pretty big deal. This is one of our larger projects, as well,” Mason Tucker, project engineer for Ayr, Ont.-based Equipment Express, told reporters on Sunday at the Fort Garry lot of CG Power Systems Canada Inc.
The project’s 34-metre-long, self-propelled modular trailer, to be driven by a lone operator and with 20 axles and hundreds of tires, is similar to one used recently to transport the space shuttle Endeavour through Los Angeles.
Beginning Sunday night, each of the $5-million-plus transformers was to be moved, one at a time, on the trailer from CG Power through the entire 145-km route at what Tucker described as an average “walking speed” of about 5 km/h, requiring nine days to transport all three to the Riel station.
Due to the vehicle’s width of two traffic lanes, each of the three trips will be made between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., with police escorts and supervision by provincial highway crews diverting other traffic.
“We hope that by doing it at night, we’ll minimize the disruption to people,” said Manitoba Hydro spokesman Glenn Schneider.
The need to steer clear of heavy traffic and tight spaces means the route — using major highways 3, 75 and 59, as well as the south Perimeter Highway and other roads — has been carefully arranged.
The wide circuit runs from CG Power’s plant just off Pembina Highway to Brunkild southwest of Winnipeg, then east to the area of Ste. Agathe and northeast to the Riel site. The trailer’s route includes bridges that the planners know will support the massive load.
“That’s exactly the challenge — figuring out how to configure the trailer, such that the bridge can properly support it,” Tucker said. “Every bridge is different, so there’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes, engineering the entire route from start to finish.”
The three transformers are part of Hydro’s improvements to a 500,000-volt power line linking Manitoba and Minnesota.
Tucker noted the difference between the transport route and the distance between the two sites.
“The last time I drove in a pickup truck from the substation to the plant here,” he said, “it took 14 minutes.”