Moving a million-pound turbine

Photos taken on April 2, 2001 at Westford, MA, USA using a Canon PowerShot S10 (2.1 megapixel) digital camera at 1600 x 1200 resolution.

shooting angles In April 2001 a million-pound turbine transited my New England town. It was on its way from its point of manufacture in Connecticut to its eventual place of employment, a new gas-burning power station in New Hampshire. Another identical unit will cross Westford in a couple of months.

Fortunately there was no need to reinforce bridges or to take down utility lines temporarily in the path of the giant cargo. Even so, it traveled in convoy with state and local police, the town's entire highway department, workers from the electric company, the local telco (Verizon), and many others. The convoy moved at about 1 mph and extended over a half mile. Crossing the town required a full day.

Schools along the convoy's path closed for a few hours each so students and teachers could watch something really edu­ca­tional.

News reports said that for Etarco, the company orchestrating the logistics and executing the move, it was pretty routine. The load was pushed and pulled by identical tractors attached to 6-axle platforms, each of which rode on nearly 100 tires. A man each at front and back of the load drove the tractors using a control box about the size of a thick laptop computer. You can see the front driver in this shot. (Also notice the Verizon guy with the long pole to the left of the turbine. He went ahead and lifted phone wires out of the way when necessary.) The rear driver walked behind the load.

The map shows the shooting locations and angles for the nine photos keyed by the thumbnails below.

Click on the thumbnails to open larger images in a separate window.
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