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Alberta plots future road upgrades as heaviest-ever load snakes out of Edmonton en route to petrochemical site


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January 8, 2019 by David Kennedy

The huge splitter requires the entire width of a two-lane highway, including shoulders, to transport. PHOTO: Province of Alberta

EDMONTON—The heaviest piece of equipment to ever move across Alberta’s road network has begun a four-day journey from a fabrication plant in Edmonton to the site of a new petrochemical facility a few dozen kilometres away.

The 96-metre propylene-propane splitter is nearly the length of a football field and weighs in at 820-tonnes. It’s being escorted by a host of guide vehicles and flaggers, with traffic being diverted to allow the huge piece of equipment to move to its final destination. The province said the tower-like splitter occupies the entire width of a two-lane highway, shoulders included.

Pieced together at the Dacro Industries Inc. fabrication shop over the past year, the splitter is destined for a new petrochemical facility in nearby Fort Saskatchewan, Alta. Inter Pipeline Inc. started work on the $3.5 billion Heartland complex in 2017.

The “super load” left the Dacro yard Jan. 6 and is expected to reach the sprawling construction site in the city northeast of Edmonton Jan. 9.

Alberta issues about 150,000 oversized/overweight permit each year, but the splitter is the heaviest cargo to ever use the province’s road network.

As crews transport the petrochemical equipment northeast, Alberta is also plotting further upgrades to its High Load Corridor to make way for similar heavy loads. Last year’s budget set aside $255 million for such upgrades, while a recent report found the province would need to spend $1.6 billion over the next two decades to upgrade the network.


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