Engineers at Turner Industries spent more than 200 man hours orchestrating today’s passage of a 100-ton, 206-foot-long manufacturing vessel from Decatur to Houston, Texas.
To some Tennessee Valley drivers today, it will mean traffic delays — and a jaw-dropping sight evocative of the space shuttle Endeavor being towed recently through Los Angeles.
Over three days, Turner Industries on Old Highway 24 in Decatur will transport a 200,000-pound stainless steel distillation column, using a steerable dolly, tractors and motorized equipment, to the Merichem plant in Houston.
The vessel will leave Decatur by 7 a.m. and cross four states at 45 mph. The column, fabricated in Decatur, replaces a smaller, out-of-service vessel.
Senior Vice President Dave Ellerbe said the vessel is one of the longest objects to be transferred by highway in state history. The devices used to transport the vessel are equipment Turner Industries has used to move rigging materials from the space shuttle.
“We ran several route surveys, spent 200-plus hours of engineering time to develop this scheme, and now we’re just excited to do this,” Project Manager Gary Blacketter said.
Turner Industries, headquartered in Baton Rouge, La., provides solutions in heavy industrial construction, maintenance, equipment, rigging, heavy hauling, and pipe, module and vessel fabrication. The 32-acre site in Decatur is a regional office that processes payroll for about 900 workers, including those in Tuscaloosa and Catlettsburg, Ky. The Decatur plant has about 200 employees who live locally. Its workforce averages having another 50 to 100 employees temporarily assigned here because of their specific skills.
The company will transport the vessel using a front-end “go-hopper,” a motorized piece of equipment with six axles and multiple wheels, while a steerable dolly will move the rear of the column.
Ellerbe said a semitrailer will follow from behind with tractors leading up front. The company will employ eight drivers and multiple state and out-of-state escorts to oversee the 850-mile journey.
Authorities will block traffic on Woodall Road and at Woodall and Old Highway 24 to allow the vessel to pass. Sections of the freeway around Houston will be closed to give drivers access to the chemical plant.
“This is one of the tallest vessels we’ve ever fabricated in this facility,” said Jim Mouch, senior vice president and regional manager. “It will take three days to transport due to its size and special routing. We’re trying not to cause a traffic problem for anybody.”
Ellerbe said workers began fabrication of the vessel in late September and finished Nov. 20. Merisol, a joint venture between Sasol in South Africa and Merichem, will own and operate the vessel.
“We intend to continue to grow this portion of our business and build more,” Ellerbe said.
Not registered? Click here
|High School Sports||@DecaturPreps|