Tank transported to gas facility

Given the size of the 300,000-pound, 160-foot-long tank transported Sunday to the MarkWest fractionator plant in Hopedale, it’s not surprising the move involved officials from many areas.

Officers with the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, Steubenville and Wintersville police, state Department of Transportation, Norfolk-Southern Railroad and local utilities were on hand to assist Total Energy Heavy Haul of Diboll, Texas, with the huge tank’s transportation from the Steubenville Marina to Giacobi Road in Hopedale.

Dennis Buckley, senior safety coordinator for MarkWest, said the tank reached its destination at 3 p.m., as planned, thanks to the efforts of Total Energy.

Buckley said the company worked closely with ODOT officials to meet the timeline and conditions they had set for the endeavor.

Many police and industry officials gathered early Sunday at the marina, where the tank had been delivered by barge from the New Orleans area and lifted with two cranes onto two remote-controlled dollies pulled by a large truck.

Another large truck behind it bore a heavy weightbox to give the vehicle traction as it traveled uphill, according to Buckley. Because of the weight of the load, the vehicle was expected to travel an average of 5 miles per hour, Buckley said.

State highway officials estimated the vehicles and load combined weighed 570,000 pounds, were 260 feet long, 20 feet wide and 17 feet, 4 inches tall.

From the marina the tank made its way over state Route 7 north to the state Route 213 northbound ramp and U.S. Route 22, taking the John Scott Highway crossover to U.S. Route 22, entering the highway westbound lanes using the eastbound off-ramp and traveling Route 22 west in the eastbound lanes.

From there it took the ramp at Lovers Lane, re-entering the Route 22 eastbound lanes and continued westbound to state Route 43, where it proceeded south to Main Street in Wintersville, west onto county Road 22A to the Route 22 westbound off/on ramp and re-entered the highway westbound via the off/on ramp at state Route 152, re-entering Route 22 westbound to state Route 151 and proceeded north to Giacobi Road and the Hopedale facility.

Some of the truck’s detours from the highway are because the load was too high to clear bridges along Route 22.

Utility crews in a bucket truck used equipment to lift a utility line above Route 7 at Dean Martin Boulevard.

ODOT officials said the vehicles also used on- and off-ramps so traffic on the highways wouldn’t be restricted for long.

Plans call for the same route to be used to transport heavy tanks and other equipment on five other occasions later this year.

Buckley said he couldn’t confirm the future transports would occur between 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays but said it seemed likely because ODOT officials found the roads were less traveled at that time.

He doesn’t know on what dates the transports will occur but said ODOT will announce them in advance, as it did for the first trip.

Buckley said as with Sunday’s trip, the future moves are expected to include seven escorts: four Ohio State Highway Patrol escorts, one ODOT escort and two private escorts,

Buckley said the tank will be used at the Hopedale facility to store propane, butane and natural gas liquids derived from natural gas.

Buckley said it’s not the first time MarkWest has been involved in the transportation of such heavy equipment, and the length of the route is fairly typical.

ODOT officials said they worked closely with Total Energy to plan the route, taking into consideration safety issues presented by bridge crossings, turns and other issues and attempting to minimize interference with local traffic.

Buckley said state and local officials have been cooperative.

“Public officials were fine with it, utility companies were fine with it. It’s pretty cool to move something like this. Everybody wants to be involved. As long as it’s done safely and well planned, it’s cool,” he said.

(Scott can be contacted at wscott@heraldstaronline.com.)