MOUNDSVILLE - After mild weather conditions allowed the Williams Energy de-ethanizer to advance three miles beyond its original Thursday target, the 41-yard long superload streamed ahead to a stop along Fork Ridge Road on Friday.
At its current pace, the 510,000-pound superload will reach the Williams Oak Grove facility on Fork Ridge Road later today - a full day ahead of when officials originally projected it would arrive.
"We are hoping it will allow us to reduce the number of days we are on the road, which will be a benefit to everyone," said Allan Berenbrock, roadway engineer for Williams. "We are cautiously optimistic that today we will continue to make the same good progress."
On Thursday, Marshall County Sheriff's deputies escorted Williams' contractors moving the massive machine from the Benwood CSX rail yard to Butch's Corner at the intersection of W.Va. 86 and W.Va. 88. Onboard the Goldhofer modular platform with 48 wheels that can move multiple directions, the superload advanced the route in six and a half hours.
Soon after the tower arrived at Butch's Corner at about 3 p.m. Thursday, the moving team determined it could safely maneuver the superload another three miles down the road before the end of the day.
Although this caused some problems for motorists who did not expect the de-ethanizer to be moving down W.Va. 88 on Thursday afternoon, Humphreys said the goal is to get the machine off the most heavily traveled roads as quickly as possible.
Photo by Sarah Harmon
Better-than-expected progress has allowed the 41-yard-long Williams Energy de-ethanizer to advance Friday to the McElroy substation along Fork Ridge Road. Officials hope to get to the Williams Oak Grove facility today, a full day ahead of the originally scheduled timetable.
Originally, the superload was scheduled to spend Friday night in front of the Mountaineer Mart in Pleasant Valley along U.S. 250. However, Humphreys said the machine would reach the McElroy substation along Fork Ridge Road late Friday, where she said it would remain overnight. This is where officials initially believed it would reach by the end of today.
Humphreys said a second de-ethanizer will head from Benwood to the 170-acre Oak Grove site in March. Once it reaches its destination, the de-ethanizer will be turned upright to be used as a tower that will refine ethane from the natural gas stream pipelined into the Williams plant.