Superload Carrier Gets Super Creative Along Texas Bridge
Old Ocean, TX – A carrier specializing in transporting “superloads” had to get creative this week and gave Transportation Nation Network (TNN) the inside scoop.
Barnhart Crane & Rigging was founded in 1969 in Memphis, TN, and has since grown to be one of the largest heavy lift and heavy transport organizations in the United States with more than 40 locations across the country.
Barnhart was recently contracted to transport four depropanizer towers, used in the natural gas fracking industry to isolate propane from a mixture containing butane and other heavy components, from Houston to Old Ocean, TX.
According to J.C. Lake, operations manager at Barnhart’s Houston office, the planning and permitting process lasted approximately eight weeks.
The plan included transporting the towers to be towed by barge from Houston to Freeport where they would be offloaded and hauled 50 miles by big rigs to Old Ocean.
Lake tells TNN three of the towers were no sweat, even though they tipped the scale at about 700,000 lbs.
The fourth and final tower, however, was approximately 800,000 lbs.
The total load was permitted for 1.27 million lbs., but there was one problem.
Lake quickly discovered a bridge along the route on Highway 35 could not bear the weight.
So, he and his team had to get creative, and that’s exactly what they did.
After making numerous trips to the bridge site and formulating a plan with the bridge engineers, Lake and his team decided to do something he has only done one other time in his more than two decades-long career planning and hauling heavy loads.
“We decided we could get each trailer on each bridge,” Lake said.
On Monday, it was go time!
Using a “pull” and “push” truck, along with two hydraulic suspension trailers boasting twelve axle lines each, with eight tires per axle line, Lake and the engineers carefully mapped out exactly where the trailers must be positioned on the bridge.
Any deviance from the exact positioning could compromise the integrity of the bridge.
Lake and his team couldn’t afford to take any chances, so they put eyes on the haul from above with the help of an aerial drone.
Besides the remarkable images that were captured, Lake says, “The engineers were wanting pictures to verify we got in the right position on the bridge.”
Once in position, Lake and his team carefully navigated across the bridge.
“The rear trailer had to remain up close to the guardrail,” Lake explained.
Once across the bridge, Lake says the crew utilized a paved crossover to bring the entire rig back together again and then “kept on going.”
That’s how eight weeks of planning came to fruition in a successful haul.
For Lake, he was pleased with another job well done for his customer.
“This is our bread and butter. This is what we do,” he proudly stated.
For those wondering, the total loaded height was 24’6” and overall length was 317’.
Lake shared some incredible pictures exclusively with TNN.
We thought you would enjoy them below.