Traffic will be disrupted in parts of the Tulsa area on Saturday, thanks to what may be the largest load ever moved in Oklahoma. Northwest Logistics Heavy Haul will begin moving a device called a demethanizer from the Exterran company in Broken Arrow where it was built to a gas processing plant in Fort Lupton, Colorado.The demethanizer is huge in its own right. It’s 186 feet long, 11 feet in diameter and weighs 535,600 pounds.
But it will be on a rig that stretches 427 feet long for a total weight of 1,192,000 pounds. The rig will use four trucks, two pulling and two pushing. The Broken Arrow Police Department believes it is the largest load ever moved through Oklahoma.Once it arrives at the plant in Colorado, a team from Northwest Logistics Heavy Haul will raise one end and install it vertically on its base.
The demethanizer will be used to make ethane and propane. Northwest Logistics has experience moving such a giant load, because it won an award for moving an identical demethanizer last year, taking it from Idaho to the same Colorado plant. Johnny Mefferd, the operations manager for Northwest Logistics, said the move should take about 14 days, as long as the weather is good. Any kind of winter precipitation will cause a delay, as will heavy rain or muddy conditions.
Mefferd said the move will use primarily two-lane and some four-lane highways, but no interstates. “Keeping everybody safe will be their number one priority,” Mefferd said. A crew of 15 to 20 people will shepherd the rig across Oklahoma and Colorado. He said coordinating all those people will be the toughest part of the job. Exterran says the rig will leave from its facility at 7 a.m., Saturday, October 11 and will take approximately eight hours to reach Highway 66 near Sapulpa. The move will cause temporary road closures in Broken Arrow, Bixby and Tulsa.
The trip will begin at Exterran, located just east of Highway 51 and E. Houston Street (81st Street). From Exterran, the load will head west on Houston across SH 51 to 9th Street; head south to New Orleans Street; then head west to Highway 64 (Memorial Drive) and travel through Bixby.
“On this move, the hardest part will be getting out of the Tulsa area,” said Mefferd. Planning for the move began in January. He said last year’s move of an identical demethanizer from Idaho to the Colorado plant took 21 days, but that move crossed two mountain ranges.
The company won a prestigious “Job of the Year” award from the Specialized Carriers and Riggers Association for that operation. Mefferd said this year’s move will use an identical rig. Mefferd is proud of his company, which is based in Woodward, Oklahoma. When asked how it became involved with moving really big items across the country, he laughed and said, “That childhood deal of seeing big objects moving around and trying to be the biggest.”