OVERVIEW / /
Logisticus was contracted by a customer to move one 420,000 lb 840MVA Royal Smit transformer from one substation to another. Frost Law (Seasonal Weight Restrictions), the area of transport, and some infrastructure issues posed unique challenges. Read on for more details and our solutions for each.
LOCATION(S) / /
Flat Rock, MI substation ⇢ Lake Orion Township (just outside of Pontiac, MI) substation
START DATE / /
November 4th, 2019
OTHER PARTIES INVOLVED / /
Railroads / Canadian National, CSX, LSRC
Police / Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC), Michigan State Police, Auburn Hills Police Department
Utilities / AT&T, Comcast, DTE Electric, Windstream
Logisticus recently completed another large transformer project where we relocated one 840MVA Royal SMIT transformer from a substation in Trenton , MI to another substation in Lake Orion Township, MI.
Due to Frost Law (Seasonal Weight Restrictions) impacts when the unit was needed in Lake Orion, we decided to move the unit in December and set to temporary storage so that risk of any Spring load restrictions could be completely avoided.
At the origin, the transformer was loaded to a self-propelled modular transporter via jack-and-slide system and transported to a rail siding (located by our Rail team) where the unit was then trans-loaded to a 12-axle depressed heavy duty railcar.
The unit than began its rail journey on the CN, LSRC and CSX railroads. Our Rail team had to navigate many hurdles – from congestion at the loading/unloading sidings to an unimaginable CN worker strike – to avoid costly delays.
While our Rail team worked with the railroads on a daily basis, our Government Planning team worked with the county on this historic move. County officials had never seen a load of this size move the distance required to go over the road.
When this substation was built years ago, there was a rail line that led to the back of the substation. However, over the years, the CN railroad has not maintained the line; nor will it currently allow heady duty rail cars to travel over it.
With months of planning, we were able to get two routes validated and physically cleared by all the vested stakeholders.
Over 40 wire lifts were needed on this 15-mile run by roughly a dozen different utility entities. Coordination was key, and with our pre-plan process and early meetings with stakeholders, we were able to work alongside our carrier to put a Transport Management Plan in place that was approved by all entities.
The day of the move, roughly 12 bucket trucks escorted the load with officers from multiple jurisdictions taking part as they mitigated the motoring public away from the load.
One of the other major challenges was the bridge over Interstate 75 in relation to the weight of the unit. Our team worked with MDOT to determine the best trailer and number of axle lines in order to make this move possible, and a 14 line ADD Goldhofer was determined to the best option.
Once transported to the determination substation, the transformer was set to temporary storage while we wait for the existing unit to be scrapped when no Frost Law impacts will interfere with the customer’s schedule.
This project included a great deal of pre-planning given the sheer size of the unit and the area of transport. Our team managed the arduous rail process with three separate railroads and vetted several possible rail siding locations.
Our destination route required numerous meetings with the local road commission; a last-minute change of route given ongoing construction in the area; and coordination with multiple external agencies for utility support.
Ultimately, the project was executed with zero issues and flawless execution.
We would like to thank the following agencies for their assistance with this move:
Auburn Hills Police
Michigan State Police
Oakland County Road Commission
Oakland County Sheriffs Office
…and the numerous other stakeholders that provided support.