Transportation has come a long way in the last century. Man landed on the moon, and Concorde took Transatlantic passengers ‘across the pond’ in just 3.5 hours. But for many freight purposes, road remains the only realistic option. This is especially true in the case of exceptionally large or heavy machinery, and in this blog we take a look at some of the biggest and most remarkable units to be moved by road.
The Saturn V rocket – United States, 1967
The ‘Nasa Crawler’ was built especially for the task of taking the huge Saturn V rocket to launch from the Kennedy Space Center’s Vehicle Assembly Building. The Saturn V was 11m tall – which is approximately the same height as a 36-storey building. Once fuelled and ready for lift-off, the aircraft weighed 2.8 million kilograms, which is equivalent of about 400 elephants. Needless to say that the Nasa Crawler’s task wasn’t a quick one – the transportation moved at ½ mile per hour.
Water desalination unit – Saudi Arabia, 2012
In 2012 a Saudi Arabian logistics company broke the record for the heaviest road freight item of all time. The mind-blowingly huge water desalination unit was said to weigh more than 4,800 tonnes and cover more ground than a football pitch. The historic transportation job, which entered the Guinness Book of Records, was executed across flat, sandy terrain. The dimensions of the trailer configuration were 124m (L) x 34m (W) x 12m (H). It was a self-propelled modular transporter which used 688 wide tires.
World’s longest wind turbine blade – Denmark, 2017
An achievement for both the logistics and renewable energy sectors was the successful delivery of the longest wind turbine blade ever produced. The 88.4m long blade was negotiated through Denmark along Highway E45, making a 218km trip from Lunderskov to Aalborg. The full cargo was just shy of 100m long.
The Endeavour Space Shuttle – United States, 2011
Another NASA creation, the Endeavour Space Shuttle is a retired orbiter which was decommissioned and moved by road from Los Angeles International Airport to the California Science Center. The journey to the Inglewood area involved careful transportation through the streets of the city, where crowds gathered to marvel at the impressive sight. Traffic lights were temporarily shut down and over 400 trees were removed in order to make way for Endeavour.
Muon g-2 storage ring – United States, 2013
The Muon g-2 storage ring is a massive electromagnet which was used to gather data at the Brookhaven National Laboratory in Long Island, New York. While it might not be the biggest machine ever moved by road, the challenges involved in the journey to Illinois make it worthy of a mention. Tilting of the unit - which had to remain in one piece – needed to be kept to an absolute minimum for fear of causing damage to the wiring system.
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