The Welsh strategic road network will crucially contribute to energy security by transporting three record-breaking abnormal loads in January: a transformer, turbine, and generator. These loads, the heaviest ever in Wales, with individual vehicles weights of up to 588 tonnes.
The trailer used to transport the load will measure, approximately, 6.7 metres wide, 78 metres long and will have 28 axles. The abnormal load will begin its 38-mile journey at Newport Docks, will then carefully navigate the A48, A449, A40 and A465 carriageways before arriving on-site at the Hirwaun Power Station.
The challenges posed by the site’s location can only be met by utilising the Welsh strategic road network rather than attempting delivery by rail.
Bottom photos by Star Lite Photography
The movement requires careful collaboration with a range of partners including: the South Wales Trunk Road Agent (SWTRA) and Future Valleys, both working on behalf of the Welsh Government; Hirwaun Power; Allelys, the specialist hauliers, and a combined force of Gwent police and the South Wales Police who will escort the loads throughout. Months of preparation, planning and assessment have taken place to ensure that the 61 structures the load will traverse are capable of safely carrying it. In addition, the precise timings of the movement have been carefully coordinated with the current A465 dualling project.
Once the turbine, generator and transformer have arrived on site, they will help manage the stability of the national power grid. This infrastructure will be used during periods of peak electricity demand and when intermittent renewable technologies are unable to produce the power required to keep the country running. Hirwaun Power Station will not operate more than 1,500 hours a year and as such, will help the country to transition to a lower carbon economy. Its 299MW capacity will generate enough electricity to power more than 150,000 households within a matter of minutes.
Richard Jones, SWTRA’s Head of Service, said: “We're delighted to be able to facilitate this movement on our trunk road network. A lot of hard work has taken between us and key partners to ensure this was achieved with the least amount of disruption possible to the network’s infrastructure and the people who use it.”