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Wind turbine stops traffic

October 15, 2010

The post of a wind turbine tower is hung up on the railroad crossing at Main Street. Post & Mail photo/Nicole Ott

Whitley County emergency officials and representatives from the Department of Transportation converged on Main Street in the southern end of Columbia City Thursday evening to assist in the transport of large pipes across the railroad tracks. The pipes, which are the base for wind turbines, span 156 feet and weigh 165,000 pounds, are not allowed on interstate highways and are traveling from Tulsa Okla. to Canada. Transporting the pipes is so arduous for truck drivers that it took two hours just to travel 12 miles out of Tulsa. The pipes are attached to a hydraulic lift in front with wheels on the back for traveling. Local police and other emergency officials monitored the train tracks as the pipes were assisted across the tracks, bottoming out frequently. Lumber eventually had to be brought in to assist in the crossing. The process took about six hours with the first of the three pipes crossing at 12:27 a.m. today. During the crossing, trains coming from Chicago and Fort Wayne were halted.

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