Keeping pace and keeping safe: transporting components for a new wind farm
- (2) double Schnabel trailers
- (1) single Schnabel trailer
- (1) 13-axle perimeter trailer
A new wind farm was being constructed in the middle of Washington state, in the vicinity of the town of Vail, WA. Vestas North America–one of the leading wind turbine manufacturers–needed to get the components for 38 new turbines from Longveiw, WA, out to Vail. All in all, this meant moving a total of 380 components for all turbines.
Vestas called upon Omega Morgan’s Portland-based specialized transportation crews, along with Texas-based Lone Star Trucking to load and transport these components 72 miles from the Port of Longview to the wind farm site. Omega Morgan’s main task was to load and haul all of the wind tower sections. Due to the size of the loads, all of the transportation would have to be done at night.
Our specialized transportation crews geared up for the job, which would involve transportation between 11pm and 5am, over 38 nights.
The Project Plan
The mission was to transport one complete turbine a night. That involved a haul of 10 loads between Omega Morgan and Lone Star to move the four tower sections, three blades, one hub, the drivetrain and the nacelle.
Omega Morgan’s crews loaded all of the components from the Port of Longview. Along with transporting the tower sections, our team also provided traffic control for all parts of the transportation, including the components that would be transported by Lone Star.
Doing the Impossible Daily: Maximizing the Night Shift
Our first challenge was to figure out how to stagger the transportation of the loads according to state requirements, while staying in our 11pm to 5am travel window.
The Washington state Department of Transportation doesn’t allow for convoys; the regulations stipulated that there needed to be 30 minutes of separation between each truck. This meant we would only be able to move five loads a night instead of 10–and the project would not be completed on time.
Omega Morgan, however, has an affinity for taking on the impossible.
We worked with the Department of Transportation and got to an agreement for a 15-minute separation between trucks instead of 30 minutes. Each of the 10 trucks took three hours to get to the site, an hour for unloading, and a two-and-a-half hour trip back. And then we’d have to reload and make sure the drivers had 10 hours of off-time before the next shift began.
In order to maximize time while maintaining safety requirements outlined by the Department of Transportation, we provided separate loading crews and driving crews so everyone could get the appropriate amount of rest between their shifts. This worked well because Longview is close to home for our team. The combination of these two efforts ensured we could move one turbine a night, and keep the entire project on pace.
A Continuing Partnership
Vestas was very happy with Omega Morgan’s work on this project, which is the second large, local project we’ve completed for the company. Our crews did a fantastic job taking the lead and providing local behind-the-scenes support–they dealt with agencies, planned details, and quickly took care of tasks that required immediate attention. We’re pleased to have worked with Vestas on this project, as well as having the privilege of providing transportation services for the Portland-based division across the midwest.