Biggest-ever load transported on Britain's roads
20th November, 2013
Traffic came to a standstill for the biggest load ever transported on Britain's roads - a power station transformer weighing an earth-shattering 640 tonnes.
The giant transformer, a vital component used to transmit energy at power stations, and specialised transporter vehicle combined are heavier than a space shuttle.
The enormous vehicle is 100m long and 5m wide and took up two lanes of the motorway while it crawled to its final destination at just 4mph. Such an epic undertaking has never before been attempted in the UK and took a team of six heavy haulage experts nine months to plan, as well a team of 20 accompanying the vehicle as it inches its way along the road.
It began its slow journey from Didcot power station in Oxfordshire on Friday and caused 13-mile long tailbacks when it wound its way along the M4 on Saturday.
Yesterday it continued along the M32 to the transformer's destination at Avonmouth Docks, Bristol, arriving at 6pm.
The transformer will next be transported by sea to Cottam power stations near Retford, Nottinghamshire. Police officers escorted the load at the expense of the haulier, Allelys Heavy Haulage, one of only two firms in the country capable of hauling such a monolithic load.
For months the company has been liaising with various authorities to assess road conditions and ensure bridges can take the crushing payload, even dispatching their own structural engineers to assess them.
Typically, two or three trucks are used to haul the transformer but more are added if the load has to go up or down a hill.