Traffic delays expected while large equipment is moved

Traffic delays expected while large equipment is moved through East Tennessee

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Barnhart Crane and Rigging company will be moving the 15 feet wide, 175 feet long vessel through East Tennessee Monday and Tuesday nights. Barnhart Crane and Rigging company will be moving the 15 feet wide, 175 feet long vessel through East Tennessee Monday and Tuesday nights.

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Traffic on some highways in Knox, Jefferson, Hamblen, Hawkins and Greene counties will be slow going this week as a large piece of equipment is slowly transported from Knoxville to Midway, Tenn.

Barnhart Crane and Rigging company will be moving the 15 feet wide, 175 feet long vessel through East Tennessee Monday and Tuesday nights.

From a distance it looks like a parade route coming through, with flashing lights and bystanders snapping pictures. Up close, you'll see it's a massive piece of equipment making a trek across several East Tennessee counties, leaving quite a bit of traffic in its wake.

"What's going on up there? What is it?" asked one driver.

What exactly is the 175-feet long metal cylinder?

"It creates nitrogen. Essentially, it's an absorption process. At the end of the day it makes nitrogen," explained Jeff Bowin, the engineer for Barnhart charged with maneuvering this piece of equipment.

It's a massive piece of equipment needing massive coordination.

"We work with the state and local municipalities, we get permitting approved based on the drawings and come out here and utilize our red steel," Bowin said.

The red steel plays a key role because the equipment needs to stay level.

"You want it as flat across the top as you can, so when you role over bumps you can be as flat as you can," Bowin explained.

For safety reasons, it will only be moving between eight and 25 miles per hour with law enforcement escorts.

Drivers stuck behind it might not be too happy, but for the bystanders along the route, it brings a little excitement to this Monday night.

"Just taking pictures of this big ole' thing coming out," said Jeff Cole, who came out to watch it roll on by. "Something I never get to see in a life time really"

Weather permitting, the oversized load will begin moving Monday, Aug. 26 at 7 p.m. The route includes:

  • Pickle Lane to North National Drive.
  • North National Drive to State Route 168 (Gov. John Sevier Highway).
    • Ramps onto eastbound I-40 and off of westbound I-40 will be closed temporarily.
  • Strawberry Plains Pike to Kitts Rd. to U.S. 11-E (Andrew Johnson Highway) into Jefferson City.
    • No access will be allowed onto Strawberry Plains Pike until the transport has passed through.
  • U.S. 11-E in Jefferson City to the City of Morristown.
  • The convoy will make a right turn onto State Route 160 and proceed to interchange with U.S. 25-E..
  • A left turn onto U.S. 25-E via the northbound off-ramp
  • Northbound on U.S. 25-E until the exit at the interchange with E. Morris Blvd.
  • Monday night's transport ends in Morristown on Highway 25-E near the ramp to E Morris Blvd.

Highway planners estimate it will take approximately eight hours to travel Monday night's 42 mile route. 

The transport will resume Tuesday, Aug. 27 at 7 p.m. That night's planed route includes:

  • Highway 25-E Northbound off ramp to E. Morris Blvd. in the City of Morristown
    • Police will be stationed at intersections to control traffic and prevent traffic from turning westbound.
  • The transport then leaves Morristown Industrial Park on E. Morris Blvd., making a left onto Shelby Williams Lane and then a right onto US Highway 11-E.
    • The convoy will take the entire pavement width of U.S. 11-E
    • The westbound traffic on U.S. 11-E will be temporarily closed as the convoy proceeds to Interstate 81.
  • The convoy will make a left onto Interstate 81 via the southbound off-ramp and cross I-81 median.
    • The Off-ramp from southbound I-81 and the on-ramp to northbound I-81 will be closed temporarily.
  • The convoy will continue eastbound on U.S. 11-E to a right turn onto Pottertown Road.
    • The convoy will take the entire pavement width of Pottertown Road
  • The convoy will then make a left turn into the new U.S. Nitrogen Plant at 471 Pottertown Road completing the route.

Highway planners estimate it will take up to seven hours to travel the 20 mile route from Morristown to Midway.

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