SISKIYOU DAILY NEWS – NORTHERN CALIFORNIA RESOURCE
April 19, 2011
Yreka, Calif. The city of Hornbrook welcomed visitors Tuesday afternoon that came in a truck that gives a new meaning to the phrase “big rig.”
On Monday evening, a 300-foot long truck and trailer blocked most of the pull-out area on the south side of Interstate 5 at the top of the Siskiyou summit. By Tuesday afternoon, it had made its way to a hill in Hornbrook.
Omega-Morgan – a company that specializes in unique transportation situations – is in the midst of moving a 200-ton electrical power transformer (a Pacific Power spare) from Riddle, Ore. to the Copco 2 dam in Siskiyou County, 13 miles east of Hornbrook.
Considering the transformer’s weight and size – 32 feet long, 18 feet wide and 16 feet high – moving the “behemoth device” is a daunting logistical undertaking, a recent press release from the company said.
“This is one of the largest hauls every done in this region,” Erik Zander, Omega-Morgan project manager, said in the release. “We had to draw on our decades of experience to put together the right combination of trucks, trailers and support. And timing is critical. The transporter must be in place and functioning by the spring run-off to ensure that power is delivered.”
To move the transformer, Omega-Morgan built a specialized trailer that is propelled by three heavy-duty class trucks – one in front and two pushing. The truck engines combine for 1,700 horsepower, enough grunt to propel the 27-axle rig and 847,000 gross pounds at a steady 15-20 miles per hour on flat surfaces and 4 miles per hour up the Siskiyou Pass, the release explained. The entire “vehicle” is 300 feet long and is classified as a dual-lane trailer.
The route from Riddle to the Copco 2 dam is approximately 110 miles. Omega Morgan officials estimate four days to complete the journey, the most difficult section being the 13-mile, two-lane road from Hornbrook on I-5 to the dam.
The Omega Morgan team began moving the transformer at 7 p.m. on Thursday, the release said. The caravan had reached the Siskiyou summit late Sunday, and Zander expected that it would take two additional days to negotiate the back roads to the dam, arriving on Tuesday.
But another logistical hurdle is permitting, Zander said. Both Oregon and California require special permits for over-sized vehicles.
The rig was parked on the summit Monday because the company was awaiting final permitting that would allow the caravan to travel the California roads. By phone on Tuesday, Zander said the company had received the Caltrans permit that allowed the caravan to travel I-5, but Siskiyou County permits that would allow them to travel down the Hornbrook road were still pending. So the caravan would be parked on a hill near Hornbrook until those permits came through.
Once in place at the dam, the transformer will play a key role in delivering electricity to residents in a four-country area, the release said. The Copco 2 dam is one of a series of dams on the Klamath River, which starts in Southern Oregon and cuts south and west through the Siskiyous until it reaches the Pacific Ocean.
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