Extra, extra Oversized/overweight transport poses big challenges Hauling extra-large, extra-heavy loads presents its own set of problems for those transporting them. Not only are size and weight limits on tractor-trailers and their cargo strictly enforced across the U.S., but there are also many obstacles that must be taken into consideration, like bridge and power-line clearances and axle load parameters. It takes a specialized carrier with unique equipment specs and a lot of "know-how" to safely, effectively and legally meet transportation requirements.
Burkhalter Rigging of Columbus, Miss., utilizes a fleet of carefully spec'd equipment to aid in the mobilization of its unusually large loads. The fleet includes 16 road tractors (primarily Peterbilts with a blend of Macks), an assortment of Fontaine and Trail King multi-axle lowboy, jeep dollies and booster trailers, and four heavy off-road (Prime Mover) tractors, including Pacific, Autocar and Mack units that are used for super transport work, all equipped with Allison automatic transmissions.
Perhaps playing the most crucial role in its operation are new heavy-haul Hydraulic Platform Modular Trailers, manufactured by Germany's Goldhofer Corp. The company owns 40 axle lines of the versatile Goldhofer THP/SL and PST/SL hydraulic platform trailers.
Delynn Burkhalter, president and CEO of Burkhalter Rigging, says that the Goldhofer units are used to hydraulically raise and lower objects to distribute their weight more evenly. "The trailers also have state-of-the-art features that allow leveling of the trailers on steeply sloped curves. Cargo can be kept level in transit by adjusting the suspension points. The trailers are also equipped with self-propelled options, enabling them to be used as standalone units when moving large components into tight spaces," he explains.
Burkhalter notes that moving an oversize, overweight load to a job site can take weeks and, depending on the project, even months of careful planning. "One of the biggest jobs we undertook in our early years involved the rigging and hauling of massive `stop logs' for the Corps of Engineers during construction of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway," he reports.
The 60-ton units were about 70-ft. long and 14-ft. wide, Burkhalter advises, and were delivered via deck barge to a point as far as the waterway was completed, then unloaded by Burkhalter crews and trucked approximately 35 miles to the dam construction site. A specially designed hauling jig was built to allow the units to be hauled under a low bridge en route.
Today, Burkhalter crews regularly move heavy equipment nationwide and in Canada. Recently, one of Burkhalter's self-propelled 400-ton-capacity Goldhofer platform trailers, which rides on 96 tires, was used to move a 300-ton power plant generator approximately 14 miles from the nearest rail siding to a job site in rural southeastern Missouri.
To accomplish the job, Burkhalter points out, five bridge structures required some form of temporary bridging to allow the massive trailer across. The largest of these, he notes, was an 11-ton-capacity, 61-ft. concrete bridge, which was traversed after building a 70-ft. temporary, modular jumper bridge.
Founded as Crane Service Inc. in 1973, the company started out primarily as a local crane rental business. As its customer base expanded, heavy rigging and machinery moving services were added. "Our hauling capabilities now include equipment that can move single components weighing over 1,360 tons net," Burkhalter explains.
Burkhalter Rigging specializes in providing turnkey transport and engineered heavy-lifting solutions to customers with valuable and unusually large components for power plants, oil refineries, chemical plants, paper mills and other heavy industries.