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Giant transformer to roll through Harford starting Monday night

Area agencies are gearing up for multi-day move of a giant transformer from Havre de Grace in eastern Harford County to the Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station in Pennsylvania.

The State Highway Administration (SHA), Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA), the Maryland State Police (MSP) and Harford County government are assisting Exelon Corporation with the oversized vehicle transport beginning Monday night, June 25 and ending Thursday night, June 28. A specially designed oversized vehicle will haul a 481,000-pound transformer from Havre de Grace to Exelon's Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station in Delta, Pa.

The convoy will move at approximately 5 mph, escorted by state police, state highway, the transportation authority and Exelon's private contractor (Hake Rigging of Lester, Pa.) along sections of Route 155 (Level Road), I-95 (John F. KennedyMemorial Highway), Route 22 (Churchville Road), Route 136 (Priestford/Whiteford Road) and Route 165 (Pylesville Road). Traffic will be temporarily detoured and/or held to accommodate the move. The transport team will maintain access to homes and businesses on the route as the slow-moving vehicles proceed along the hauling routes. The vehicle will move to a pre-determined, secure staging location each night.

Bridge closures

Because of the extreme weight of the load, SHA engineers determined that the Deer Creek and Broad Creek bridges along Route 136 require temporary additional structural support designed to protect the bridges from damage. The move team must close the bridges to all traffic for two days each to assemble the enhanced support system. SHA will assist the team by detouring traffic along Route 136 during the two-day temporary closures.

The oversized vehicle transport is the last of seven new transformers to be moved from the port at Havre de Grace to Delta. The total weight of the transformer and transport vehicle is approximately 671,000 pounds. The transformer is 35 feet high and 28 feet wide. The first transformer move was in July 2009 and three transformers were successfully moved using the same route in 2010. Two more were moved in 2011. Exelon is paying all costs associated with hauling the transformer and is supported by the participating agencies.

Area residents and business owners will be able to track the process of the convoy by calling Exelon's Transporter Tracker Hotline, 717-456-4932, beginning 9 a.m. June 25. Exelon staff will provide recorded message updates during the four-day process. SHA advises motorists to avoid the hauling route during the move and plan ahead for temporary road and bridge closures and detours. SHA will post periodic updates via Twitter. Citizens can follow SHA on Twitter @MDSHA.

For more information about Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station, contact Lacey Dean, communications manager for Peach Bottom, 717-456-4818. A map of the hauling route and other information about the Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station is available on Exelon's website, http://www.exeloncorp.com/PowerPlants/peachbottom.

Caravan and bridge closure schedule (all dates and times are approximate):

8 p.m. Monday, June 25 to 5 a.m. Tuesday, June 26: single left-lane closures along northbound and southbound I-95 in the vicinity of the Route 155 interchange (Exit 89) and road closures along Route 155 in Havre de Grace east of I-95, with temporary detour routes posted.

10 p.m. Monday, June 25: Caravan enters Route 155 at Baker Road and proceeds west along Route 155 to the I-95 interchange; ramp from westbound Route 155 to northbound I-95 closed; ramp from southbound I-95 to westbound Route 155 closed; temporary detour routes will be posted.

11:30 p.m. to midnight, Monday, June 25: Caravan begins crossing all lanes and median of I-95 at the Route 155 interchange (Exit 89). State police will slow traffic to a stop on I-95 to permit the convoy vehicles to cross the highway (approximately 15 minutes). After both transport vehicles have successfully traveled across all lanes of I-95, state police will re-open travel lanes in stages to allow stopped I-95 traffic to proceed.

Midnight to 5 a.m. Tuesday, June 26: Caravan proceeds from I-95 interchange west along Route 155 and will briefly travel one-tenth of a mile along Route 22 in Churchville to connect to northbound Route 136. The caravan will stop for the night along Route 136 south of the bridge over Deer Creek at 5 a.m.

5 a.m. Tuesday, June 26 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, June 27: The Deer Creek Bridge will be closed to all traffic, with temporary detour routes posted.

5 p.m. Tuesday, June 26 to 5 a.m. Wednesday, June 27: Caravan crosses the Deer Creek Bridge in daylight hours, stops until 10 p.m. and proceeds north along Route 136 overnight; The caravan will stop for the night along Route 136 south of the bridge over Broad Creek.

6 a.m. Wednesday, June 27 to 5 p.m. Thursday, June 28: The Broad Creek Bridge will be closed to all traffic, with temporary detour routes posted.

5 p.m. Wednesday, June 27 to 5 a.m. Thursday, June 28: Caravan crosses the Broad Creek Bridge in daylight hours, stops until 10 p.m. and proceeds north along Route 136 to northbound Route 165 overnight; The caravan will stop along Route 165 just south of the Maryland/Pennsylvania state line.

10 p.m. Thursday, June 28 to 5 a.m. Friday, June 29: Caravan leaves Maryland and proceeds within Pennsylvania along Route 74 (Delta Road) to Broad Street Extended to Lay Road, ending the journey at Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station in Delta, Pa. Detour routes will be in effect in Pennsylvania.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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