Moving around Texas

14 May 2020

In mid-April, Barnhart Crane & Rigging was tasked to transport nine fracking unit components from the fabrication shop to the construction site where the unit is being built. To move one of them, a 800,000lb (363t) depropanizer column vessel, was more challenging than the others.

After the 317ft (96.6m) long column vessel was placed on Barnhart’s Goldhofer transporters at the fabrication shop in Houston, the oversized cargo was driven onto a barge and transported by water to Freeport, Texas. From there, it was a 50-mile overland journey to the construction site in Old Ocean, Texas.

The biggest challenge presented was moving the out-of-gauge piece across a bridge spanning the San Bernard River.

J.C. Lake, operations manager at Barnhart’s Houston branch, said: “The bridge engineers told us we were too heavy for the one bridge.” Due to the size and weight of the vessel, along with weight restrictions of the bridge, the Texas Department of Transportation indicated that both spans of the bridge—all four lanes—should be used. “After we measured and checked that it would fit on both bridges, the engineers were able to pass us on the permit.”

Barnhart used a paved crossover to get the load separated. Ten road signs had to be removed around the bridge to accommodate the crossing. Both ends of the column vessel were on 300USt turntables to help manoeuvre the column.

There was enough length between the bolsters to successfully get the two trailers on each bridge span. While the bridge was closed to north and southbound traffic, the load made its way across the bridge at 5mph. It cleared the guardrails by approximately four feet. Once across the bridge, Barnhart used another paved crossover to get the load back together. At the construction site, the cargo was self-offloaded onto beams and jack stands.