A REGULAR SERIES THAT LOOKS BACK AT HOW LIFE USED TO BE IN THE WORLD OF HEAVY HAULAGE. THIS ISSUE, ROD SPRATLEY CHARTS THE MOVEMENT OF A REGENERATOR IN CHESHIRE, FOLLOWING AN OIL REFINERY UPGRADE IN 1986
The not so silent majority can always be relied upon to have opinions regarding the price of fuel, the need for better roads, and the cost of energy. But once such infrastructure improvements create the need for abnormal/indivisible loads to be moved, those same people will be even more vocal that things “shouldn’t occur on that route”. There are, however, occasions, when a movement is so spectacular that the interest, and wow factor, is great enough to overwhelm even the staunchest NIMBY.
One such event was in December 1986, when a 647-tonne component, forming part of a £400 million upgrade at an oil refinery in Cheshire, was transported 11km along public highways from the nearest quayside to the construction site.
The planning for such a logistical challenge had started eighteen months earlier, when Econofreight Heavy Transport was awarded the contract to move the ‘catalytic cracker’ from the docks at Ellesmere Port to the Stanlow Oil Refinery. The ensuing 15 months saw 83 formal meetings held, engagement with 13 subcontractors, the production of 30 drawings, and the creation of more than 1,000 items of correspondence before a ‘special order’ was approved by the then Department of Transport (now Highways Agency). It was also necessary to raise the 132kv power line supply to the town of Ellesmere Port in order to provide an overhead clearance of 25m, and specially strengthen an under-bridge as part of the preparations.