Toll takes heavy haulage challenge head on
When a new 68-tonne piece of infrastructure was commissioned for the Port Kembla steelworks, the fabrication company that produced it tasked Toll with ensuring the oversized structure was delivered to the site safely and efficiently.
Australia’s largest steelworks is located in Port Kembla, New South Wales. When a new coke making quenching stack was required for the site – an exhaust outlet to vent the steam from the coke oven – a local industrial fabrication company was engaged to manufacture one.
Measuring 39 metres long, 8 metres wide and 6.5 meters high – and weighing in at 68 tonnes – the stack was classified as over-dimensional freight, and transporting it from the fabricator’s workshop to the Port Kembla steelworks presented a series of challenges.
Successfully transporting the stack would require:
- specialised heavy lift equipment to lift, support and move the structure – cranes, trailers and vehicles capable of handling over dimensional freight would need to be secured, along with staff trained to operate them.
- detailed pre-planning to ensure the structure, once loaded, could be careful manoeuvred through the gates of the fabrication workshop and around a tight corner on to the road.
- relevant over-dimensional transport permits, police escort vehicles and road closures along the planned route – at a loaded height of 7.9 metres, the stack was too tall to pass beneath the any overhead power lines and far too wide for a single road lane.
- careful consideration of timing – to minimise disruptions in the local area, the timeframe for completing the move would be tight.
At this point, Toll was engaged to manage the detailed freight movement from point of origin to the steelworks.
For 12 months Toll’s heavy haulage team worked on a detailed planning process – a comprehensive transport management plan was developed, detailing the requirements for each of the project’s stages.
Two Volvo FH16 700 prime movers from the Toll fleet were selected to move the stack in a push-pull configuration – the vehicles would tow the oversized structure using an extendable 3 rows of 8 low loader, and a 2 rows of 4 – 2 rows of 8 steerable jinker.
Our project managers calculated the total transport dimensions and created a virtual layout of the load and equipment using AutoCAD to plan clearances between the load and the trailer, and also the trailer to the ground. The site’s driveway was also surveyed to confirm sufficient clearance under the trailer and load.
Measuring 52 metres in length, the loaded truck and trailer combination was far too long to pass through the main entry gates of the site. The decision was made to remove the gates, three sections of fence either side of the driveway to provide clear access for the load to safely pass through as it made the turn.
The 1.6 kilometre route to the steelworks was planned along Flinders Street Port Kembla but at 7.9 metres high the load was too tall to pass beneath the overhead power lines. Our project managers met with local energy provider Endeavour Energy to arrange to have all overhead power lines along the planned route removed temporarily to allow the stack to pass through.
Our project management team applied for and secured a traffic control permit and road occupancy licence from the Roads and Maritime Services to close the road for four hours.
With the route planned and all necessary permits confirmed, the team needed to ensure that the stack was safely secured to the trailer before it could be moved. Holes were drilled in a transport cradle big enough to hold the stack so that the load could be bolted to the turntable bolster on the trailer.
The stack was loaded by dual lift using a gantry crane and a mobile crawler crane. The transport cradles of the stack were then bolted to the bolsters of the low loader and jinker before the vehicle was positioned in the driveway ready for the next day.
On the morning of the move a toolbox meeting was held for all staff involved in the project to run through the day’s planned activities, highlight key safety considerations and explain traffic control procedures.
Once traffic control was set up, the team began removing the overhead power lines along the planned route. The stack was then driven, slowly and carefully, through the extended gateway and on to the road.
Travelling at 5 kilometres an hour the two prime movers towed the stack along Flinders Street, Port Kembla to the steelworks. As the trucks arrived, teams got to work refitting the power lines and packing down the traffic control equipment so that the road could be reopened.
The stack was towed to the designated position, unbolted from the transport cradle and unloaded using two 160-tonne WGC cranes.
Meeting the challenges of transporting freight as large as a coke making quenching stack requires effective planning, experience securing a range of permits from regulatory authorities and a strong focus on safety throughout all stages of the project.
We were able to work with our customer to develop a comprehensive transport management plan for the move, suggest measures to overcome problems we encountered and minimise disruption for the fabricator, operations at the steelworks and members of the local community.
Thanks to selected pieces of specialised heavy haulage equipment and our skilled operators, we were able to secure the load for transport in six hours and move it the following day in just seven hours.
Toll’s experience in facilitating complex over-dimensional heavy lift projects and our “measure twice, cut once” approach to project planning allowed us to provide an effective transport solution for a challenging piece of oversized freight.