Superload Ready For First Leg of Journey

McMECHEN – Corky Demarco said moving huge loads such as the 41-yard long Williams Energy de-ethanizer is an “unfortunately disruptive” part of the Marcellus and Utica shale natural gas industry’s ongoing expansion.

The 510,000-pound machine is scheduled to begin its four-day journey aboard its modular platform trailer known as a Goldhofer from the Benwood CSX rail yard to Williams’ Oak Grove facility along Fork Ridge Road at 8 a.m. today.

“It is just part of our industry,” Demarco, executive director of the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association, said regarding the superload. “How else are you going to do it? They can’t drop it in by helicopter.”

Williams spokeswoman Helen Humphreys said the de-ethanizer is the largest single piece of equipment Williams has moved in Marshall County. She said the machine’s intricate construction pattern required that workers build it in Texas, rather than on-site at Oak Grove.

“It will be steered remotely,” Humphreys said, adding that the superload will generally travel about 3 mph, but never more than 5 mph.

As the de-ethanizer progresses along the route, there will be rolling shutdowns of the roads traveled.

Humphreys said Williams’ contractor, Crane Rental Corp., will minimize disruption to normal traffic patterns as much as possible.

Plans call for the de-ethanizer to sit at Butch’s Corner at the intersection of W.Va. 86 and W.Va. 88 tonight; at the Mountaineer Mart in Pleasant Valley on Friday night; and at the McElroy substation along Fork Ridge Road on Saturday night before making the final leg of its trek to Oak Grove.