T800s handle logistical challenge

HOW DOES BC FERRIES move a recently purchased ferry from the Utah desert to British Columbia waters without it getting wet? The British Columbia agency is relying on heavy transport specialist Emmert and its Kenworth T800s.

Clackamas, Oregon-based Emmert International is hauling the MV John Atlantic Burr from Lake Powell on the Utah-Arizona border, where the vessel has carried vehicles and passengers for the past 20 years. To facilitate the heavy haul, the ferry was disassembled and the hull cut into four sections by another firm.

During two separate trips of some 1,900 miles through four states, Emmert transported two large hull sections at a time, each section weighing about 110,000 pounds. Each section was strapped to a transport frame riding on six hydraulic dollies. When the sections reached Tacoma, Washington, they were offloaded onto a barge, which then traveled to a shipyard in North Vancouver, BC.

Emmert relied on a pair of Kenworth T800s to handle the major part of the job.

“We depend on the power and durability of our Kenworth trucks,” said Terry Michael Emmert, vice president of the family-owned hauling company. “Reliability is a major factor in our work, and Kenworth delivers. We expect our trucks to be on the job and not in the shop. We don't put big miles on our trucks but we depend on them for our transport projects. This is the first time we bought new Kenworths and they have performed extremely well.”

The Kenworth T800s are equipped with a Caterpillar C15 475-hp engine, driven through an 18-speed transmission and backed by a 4-speed auxiliary transmission. The trucks are spec'd with an oversized radiator to provide expanded airflow. In addition to the T800s used in the ferry move, Emmert's fleet includes more than 20 Kenworth T800s and C500s.

Although this move wasn't the longest or the heaviest load Emmert has hauled in the company's 30-plus years of heavy haul jobs, it did represent a complex logistical project.

“We were moving two sections at a time, we were facing winter weather conditions, and the loads were 24-feet wide and took up two lanes of a freeway, which meant that traffic behind us had to wait until we reached a place to pull off,” Emmert said.

BC Ferries bought the ferry after it was declared surplus by the Utah Department of Transportation. The Canadian agency intends to expand the ferry's capacity from 26 to 35 vehicles. After the work is completed next spring, the ferry will be used as a backup vessel for sailings from the British Columbia mainland to nearby islands.

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