New Castle News

January 24, 2013

Heavy load readied again for road trip

Nancy Lowry
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Gary Brown enjoys a challenge. But he might have had his fill yesterday.

Last week, Brown, supervisor of Ravana Industries at 1902 Old Butler Road, prepared to ship a 128,000-pound ladle transfer car created at the Shenango Township shop to its final destination.

Those plans were sidelined by the state police, who weighed the transfer car loaded trailer and it tipped the scales at 198,450 pounds. The troopers said it was too heavy to travel on state highways.

A bigger trailer with more axles to spread the weight over a larger surface, had to be found.

Walt Stearly, driver and owner of Stearly’s Motor Freight of Pottstown, Pa., returned yesterday morning with a new 13-axle trailer to use instead of the original 10-axle trailer.

The plan, Brown said, was to use two cranes to raise the transfer car from the original trailer and to move it onto the second.

It did not go like clockwork.

Yesterday dawned with single-digit temperatures, preventing one of the two crane trucks from Lear Contracting from starting.

The crane arrived to find Stearly working out difficulties with his replacement trailer. Then the loaded trailer would not move from the Ravana parking lot. In the meantime, the chain on one of the cranes had to be unhooked and readjusted.

As those challenges were met, Brown and his staff provided and fed a burn barrel, which he placed in the parking lot.

With those problems resolved, crane operators Wayne Young and Dave Boston, of Lear Contracting, lifted the heavy car. The first trailer was driven away and the new one backed into place and the load was secured. The operation, which began at 8 a.m., was successfully completed five hours later. By then the sun was shining and the temperature had climbed to 13 degrees.

Before making the 70-mile drive to Republic Steel in East Canton, Ohio, Stearly said, state police will be contacted again to re-weigh the loaded vehicle and  inspect it. Then he can get new permits. His load will be 18 1/2 feet wide and the truck and trailer measures 128 feet long. It will be heavier than the original 198,450-pound load, due to the additional axles on the trailer.

“If all goes well, we could be on our way in 48 hours,” he said.

At its new destination, the transfer car will hold a ladle loaded with 98 tons of hot steel.

The ladle car, when it finally moves out of the Ravana parking lot, is expected to travel Route 422 to Route  224, then to Interstates 680, 80, 76 and 77 to Canton.

Because of its wide load status, the ladle car will have a state police escort, who will hand it over to the Ohio Highway Patrol at the state line.

“Because it’s so heavy, when it crosses a bridge all other traffic must stop as it crawls across. It can be the only thing on the bridge,” Brown said. “The challenges with this never end.”