Sue Kiesewetter reports
Four gigantic metal boxes used in the production of industrial gases are being shipped to an AK Steel supplier in Middletown and could cause traffic delays along its route in Hamilton and Butler counties beginning Wednesday.
The equipment is so large that four Duke Energy bucket trucks will travel with the equipment so that utility lines can be raised when needed.
“This is too tall for interstate overpasses,’’ said Mike Moreland with the Ohio Department of Transportation. “Utility lines might have to be moved along the route.”
A caravan that includes Duke’s trucks and the trailer carrying the equipment will be escorted by four Ohio State Highway Patrol, one Ohio Department of Transportation and two private vehicles.
In Butler County, the caravan will be joined by a crew from the engineer’s office and, in Middletown, by the police department, officials said.
“We get involved to help plan the route to make sure the load doesn’t exceed the weight limits on any bridges, the roads aren’t too narrow and underpasses are high enough,’’ said Chris Petrocy, spokesman for the Butler County Engineer’s Office.
Crews from the engineer’s office will remove signs at intersections the caravan will travel through and then reinstall the signs when it passes. Extra gravel may also be placed on some roadways.
The first of the oversized cold boxes will leave from the Ohio River at the Anderson Ferry at 9 a.m. Wednesday and should arrive at Air Products and Chemicals Inc., on Yankee Road in Middletown, by 4:30 p.m. Thursday.
At 238,562 pounds – about 119 tons – it is the smallest of the four pieces of equipment. The equipment measures between 146 and 175 feet in length, 18.5 feet wide and 19.5 feet high. The larger pieces weigh between 256,728 and 425,800 pounds – or 128 to 213 tons.
The boxes are used by Air Products to produce industrial gases used by AK Steel along with food, chemical, metal process, electronic, medical and other clients.
It is part of the company’s plan to build, own and operate a new air separation unit, hydrogen production facility and make improvements to liquefier operations to produce industrial gases.
The trailer carrying the rectangular shaped boxes will move no faster than 5 miles per hour on its journey.
Each cold box will be shipped separately, with two-day shipments leaving Wednesday, Friday, May 21 and May 24.