INDUSTRY

Utilities

EQUIPMENT USED

  • 2015 Kenworth C500 prime mover
  • t-bar jeep from our high frame trailer
  • 150 ton trailer with torque tubes
  • 2016 Kenworth T800 tri drive tractor push truck

When the extreme summer heat damaged a transformer at a substation in Sherwood, our Portland-based specialized transportation crew was called into action. An electrical utility company in the process of expansion had initially contracted with us to transport a new transformer to a storage facility in Hillsboro. But with an emergency on our hands, our specialized transportation team worked quickly to reroute the new unit to replace the damaged transformer.

SPECIALIZED TRANSPORTATION AGAINST THE CLOCK

The new transformer was already aboard the railway to Cornelius when our team learned of the damaged unit. With limited time, we simultaneously searched for available rail and trucking routes. Planning this transportation job would typically take two months. However, as our client and the Sherwood community faced potential power outages in the middle of summer, our specialized transportation team found a way to execute with the same level of care and precision in a quarter of the time.

TRANSPORT PLANS VERSUS MURPHY’S LAW

In this industry, you learn to work with Murphy’s Law, especially when you are up against a time constraint. Our initial plan involved the rail company diverting the railcar closer to the Sherwood area. When clearance to the necessary rail spur was unavailable within the required time frame, moving the transformer by truck became the only option. After searching for a viable route and submitting an application, the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) denied our first permit request due to a weight-deficient bridge. Now with even less time available, we had to look for an alternate route. Our specialized transport crews spent several nights surveying viable options that would allow a 17’ clearance. Scheduling necessary wire lifting and tree trimming along the final route on short notice only increased the pressure to have this latest plan approved in time. Fortunately, ODOT worked closely with our specialized transportation team to expedite the process, helping us turn a potential power outage disaster into another successful move.

THE HEAVY HAUL COMES TOGETHER

Finally, the job of loading and transporting the transformer was upon us. The transformer itself measured 33’ long by 11’ wide by 16’ high and weighed 319,670 pounds. Transport required our dual lane perimeter deck trailer with 12 8-tire axles—due to the height and weight—plus a Kenworth C500 in the front to pull and a Kenworth T800 in the back to push. Our specialized transportation crew maneuvered the 96 wheeler into position at a nearby rail siding and loaded the transformer onto the trailer.

That evening when there was less traffic on the route, our team operating the trailer was accompanied by four Omega Morgan pilot cars—two in the front and two in the back—and a bucket truck from a local utility provider to help maneuver the transformer under wires and low hanging traffic signals. Arriving at the substation in Sherwood, the crew offloaded the transformer onto a temporary pad. A few days later, when the permanent pad was ready to receive the transformer, our specialized transport team completed the move.

Our client was extremely pleased with the outcome and our ability to remain effective in the face of a potential disaster. This project was another example of what experience and teamwork can accomplish as Omega Morgan continues doing the impossible daily.