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AUSTINâ€”Three long-haul rigs, each loaded with a transformer, are journeying across the state to meet a shipping deadline at the Port of Houston.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) approved super-heavy permits for a Texas company to haul the loads at gross vehicle weights of 510,000, 430,000 and 420,000 pounds. The transformers are headed to Japan to aid in disaster relief in the aftermath of a destructive earthquake and tsunami.
Twenty feet wide and 197 feet long, the super-heavy loads will leave Sweetwater early Wednesday morning and travel south along Texas highways to the final port destination. They will then be offloaded onto a vessel and shipped to Japan.
Maintenance employees in six TxDOT districtsâ€”Abilene, Brownwood, Fort Worth, Waco, Bryan and Houstonâ€”will provide traffic control as the big rigs move across Texas.
â€śIt took a great deal of coordination in a short period of time to pull this off,â€ť said Carol Davis, Motor Carrier Division director. â€śTxDOT divisions and districts worked closely with an engineering consultant to accomplish in a few days what would normally take weeks.â€ť
TxDOTâ€™s Motor Carrier Division issues permits to carriers for loads exceeding legal size and weight limits, working closely with the districts to make sure loads move across the state safely and efficiently. In 2009, the agency issued over 500,000 such permits, 6,235 of those exceeding 200,000 pounds.