Monday, March 5, 2012

Talk about a specialty gig …

One fascination that resonates in the trucking industry is the fascination with unique equipment and unusual loads. It’s one of the first questions asked when OOIDA members visit HQ here in Grain Valley.

Photo courtesy LACMA
“What do you haul?”

Usually the response is something like, “I’ve got a load of mower parts out there,” as they jerk a thumb over their shoulder showing us their truck and trailer. Of course, the ones who have race cars, pigmy goats, Thomas the Tank Engine – pretty much anything unusual or interesting – get quite the response.

But in all the years at truck shows and here at OOIDA’s Land Line Magazine, I can honestly say I’ve never heard of an operation hauling a 340-ton rock.

Yup. A rock. One rock.

Of course, when I stumbled across an article about this enormous rock leaving the quarry, I had to know more. What truck and trailer were actually able to transport this thing? What did it look like? Where was it going? What kind of permits did it need?

Here are a few of those answers:

The trailer is a specialty-made 100-yard (yup 100-yard not 100-foot) trailer that is pushed and pulled by a combination of three tractors. There are 44 total axles. It’s about two stories tall and takes up nearly three lanes of traffic.

The rock is going 105 miles from Riverside, CA, to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. It will be a sculpture by Michael Heizer called “Levitated Mass.” The tear-drop shaped rock will actually hang above the ground for museum visitors to walk under.

Photo courtesy of LACMA
And permitting had to be extensive. The load travels only at night and involves utility crews displacing power lines, etc., to make way for the load, and replacing the lines afterward. Coordination is clearly key.

In fact, in information about the rock and its journey on the museum’s website, it was clear that finding a route wasn’t an easy task.

“After months of research, engineering studies, and collaboration with officials in four counties and twenty-two cities, engineers at Emmert International have established a fairly circuitous route that avoids overpasses and any streets or bridges deemed too weak to support the transporter and cargo. You can see the full route here.”

The trip to the museum will end this coming Saturday, March 10. You can track the rock’s journey on the museum’s website.

Pretty cool specialty gig, I’d say.

As a special favor, if anyone gets a chance to see this thing live and up close, you have to take some pictures and tell us all about it.