Twists and Turns

FORK RIDGE – Moving a 41-yard long “superload” machine that weighs 510,000 pounds and is 14 feet wide is no small task on roads that are wide, smooth, flat and straight.

The contractors preparing to move Williams Energy’s de-ethanizer from the Benwood CSX rail yard to the Oak Grove processing plant on Fork Ridge Road have an even more complicated job because they must transport the large device over potholes and around sharp curves.

Onboard a modular platform trailer known as a “Goldhofer,” the de-ethanizer’s trek into the heart of Marshall County is set to begin early Thursday, but it likely will not reach its destination until Sunday. Division of Highways officials believe motorists should be able to pass the superload at certain points along the route.

The de-ethanizer will encounter a number of different roadway conditions along its route.

  • W.Va. 2 to W.Va. 86 – The superload will depart the CSX rail yard onto W.Va. 2 southbound. Once in Glen Dale, the de-ethanizer will need to make a 90-degree turn onto W.Va. 86.
  • W.Va. 86 northeast to W.Va. 88 – Traveling up the two-lane road, movers will find W.Va. 86 has plenty of curves and dips. There are also two areas on the way up the hill that feature multiple potholes. Once the de-ethanizer reaches the top of the hill at the intersection of W.Va. 88, it will park for the night at Butch’s Corner.
  • W.Va. 88 to U.S. 250 – The southward journey is scheduled to begin early Friday. Similar to W.Va. 86, W.Va. 88 is filled with turns, narrow portions and hills, but it does not have as many noticeable potholes.
  • U.S. 250 to Fork Ridge Road – Along U.S. 250, the de-ethanizer crew will deal with similar turns and dips. Potholes are rare on U.S. 250, but the road features some rough patches. The superload will park for the night at the Mountaineer Mart in Pleasant Valley.

Early Saturday, the superload will begin moving again toward Fork Ridge Road. U.S. 250 features some bumpy portions along the way. Upon reaching the intersection on Fork Ridge Road, the 41-yard long de-ethanizer will need to make a sharp turn onto the road.

  • Fork Ridge Road west to the Williams Oak Grove site – Late Saturday, the superload will stop for the night at an area commonly known as the McElroy substation. It will start moving again early Sunday. Fork Ridge Road features the same challenges as the previous roads, but it is more narrow.