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Mammoet Uses Precise Maneuvers to Transport and Install Pipe Racks

Dec. 29, 2021 - Six pipe rack modules needed to be set across various existing infrastructure including four lanes of Illinois Highway 3, the Mississippi River levee, and five railroad tracks owned by various operators, all near Hartford, Illinois.

The customer wanted to assemble all the modules at lower elevations and requested that Mammoet jack the modules up to the required elevation before transport and setting. 

One possible approach would have been to stick build the modules in place. However, that would have required significant time and blocking of the highway and railroad tracks, which would have had a substantial impact on the public as well as excessive costs.

Mammoet’s method of using self-propelled modular transporters (SPMTs) allowed the modules to be assembled on site without impact to the surrounding infrastructure.

Building at a lower elevation presented safety advantages by minimizing the need for crews to work at height. To minimize traffic and rail disruptions, transports took place during nights and weekends, and were safely completed within the allowed highway or railroad closure times.   

The Unit 2 module was 314’ long and weighed 653,000 lbs. It presented multiple transport challenges. Moving the unit required Mammoet’s operators to navigate a blind turn without being able to see each other as the pipe rack straddled the levee.

To exit the laydown yard, the trailers began in the transverse direction, then after traveling about 100’, the trailers turned 90° and traveled south down the highway, where the first trailer made a 90° turn to pass through the 20’ wide levee gates.

Then, with power lines and support poles interfering at the south end of the travel path, a 90° turn to the north called for the second trailer to travel in reverse. As the module moved north, it approached a temporary staging position on the west side. Using hydraulic gantries to support the load, the SPMTs were repositioned to navigate the narrow travel path, allowing for final set.

Once the front trailers were repositioned, the piece was transported the final 50’ and set on supports, where it spanned access roads on either side, the levee, and a divided four-lane highway. Experienced flagging from the levee, excellent radio communication, and teamwork made for a safe and successful operation.  

The installation of Unit 5 also presented significant transport challenges, including negotiation past an existing substation, under high-voltage power lines, and across multiple railroad lines. There were also subsurface conditions and monitoring wells that could not be loaded, which added to the complexity of the available haul route.

The rail owners approved Mammoet to bridge the tracks with roll-on roll-off (RORO) ramps, but only allowed a narrow window of track closure to install the ramps and complete the transport. 

As with Unit 2, the final transport required the use of hydraulic gantries to reposition both trailers prior to final set, in order to mitigate the multiple haul route interferences. 

All modules were jacked up using Mammoet’s JS500 self-climbing jacking system approximately 30’ from assembly elevation to set elevation. Each pipe rack was transported at either end with double nine-axle-line SPMTs, a falsework arrangement, turntables, and 330-USt  Mega Jack towers, which allowed for the agile movements of the trailers to follow complex transport paths riddled with obstacles.


Crane Hot Line is part of the Catalyst Communications Network publication family.