Delivery of giant equipment delayed

By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Editor
The movement of huge and heavy equipment along Groveport area roads headed for Licking County has been delayed.

According to Groveport Police Chief Casey Adams, the first of potentially 18 to 20 shipments – possibly over a 36 week period in two week intervals – of the giant equipment had been expected to crawl through Groveport on Feb. 10. But, Adams said the delivery was delayed by logistical issues elsewhere.

“The first shipment may come through Groveport in late February or early March,” said Adams, who added that, as of mid-February, the state had not yet issued permits for the transport. “The actual days of the shipment are still to be determined.”

However, according to Ohio Department of Transportation Press Secretary Matt Bruning, there is no set schedule yet for when each load will move or at what intervals.

“What I can tell you about the route is that our permits folks do a great deal of analysis to ensure the infrastructure can handle the loads and that the loads will fit vertically and horizontally,” said Bruning.

Special trucks, ranging from 200 to 250 feet long, will transport the mammoth equipment weighing several tons and towering up from 16 to 20 feet tall, from the Rickenbacker Airport area to the new, $20 billion Intel semiconductor chip factory complex in Licking County. The equipment being hauled will be used in making semiconductor chips at the new Intel facility. The massive things will pass through Groveport several times this year.

Bruning said these dimensions appear accurate for the largest loads, but not all loads will be this large.

“Permits issued will range from 120,000 pounds gross weight (load and equipment) up to 925,000 pounds gross weight,” said Bruning, who added that not all of these loads are related to Intel.

The shipments will be accompanied by six Ohio Highway Patrol and 13 Columbus Police cruisers, according to Adams.

“We are awaiting weekly updates from the Ohio Department of Transportation and state officials indicated they will give us a week’s notice of the coming of the equipment,” said Adams. “It’s all tentative. We have nothing in black and white yet. It’s like nailing Jello to a wall. There are more unknowns than knowns.”

Adams said he asked for communication among all the governments and transport partners involved because of the impact the delivery of the giant equipment will have on Groveport area residents, businesses, and schools regarding road closures, traffic, and logistics.

“Our plan is to give as much advance notice as possible to key stakeholders and the general public,” said Bruning. “We want people to be able to plan around these loads coming through to help minimize disruption as much as possible.”

Adams said the humongous equipment cannot be transported on interstate freeways because it will not fit under overpasses, so local roads must be used. The equipment will be trucked from Manchester, Ohio, on the Ohio River and through Central Ohio to Licking County. He said it could take 10 to 12 days for the equipment to travel to the Rickenbacker area after its arrival in Ohio.

Groveport City Administrator B.J. King stated at Groveport City Council’s Feb. 12 meeting that the first shipment was recently unloaded at Manchester.

“But we still don’t know when the shipments will be passing through Groveport,” said King.

Bruning said details about the actual delivery route are not confirmed and are being finalized.

However, Adams speculated the trucks might haul the giant equipment north on State Route 317 using the south bound lanes so they can avoid the traffic light framework. Utility lines would have to be moved and some trees trimmed in places along the journey so the gigantic equipment can pass by. Adams said the trucks could park for the night on Old Bixby Road before heading out again the next day east on Bixby Road to U.S. Route 33. The load would travel east bound on U.S. Route 33 in the west bound lanes to Gender Road.

Adams said it is uncertain how long it will take the shipments to proceed from Rickenbacker to Bixby Road.

“I’ve been told it could take an hour to an hour and a half, but I’ll believe it when I see it,” said Adams.

Adams said it is possible there will be additional smaller shipments after the initial large ones and that he was informed those would proceed north on State Route 317 to U.S. 33.

Groveport city officials are concerned about traffic and utility disruption caused by the shipments as well as potential damage to the road beds due to the crushing weight of the equipment being hauled.

“The weight scares me,” said Groveport City Councilman Shawn Cleary. “We’re not paying for torn up roads.”

King said a video of the road conditions will be made before the shipments pass through and there will be a maintenance clause and bond as part of the process.

Adams noted the Madison Township Fire Department has to make arrangements for mutual aid in case its emergency vehicles are blocked by the shipments. He added that the haulers will have to deal with getting around the Rickenbacker Air Show traffic and the Pelotonia bicycle tour on shipments later this year. He said there are concerns about how the big trucks with their heavy cargo could negotiate the roundabout at State Route 317 and Rohr Road.

City of Groveport officials have requested portable message boards be situated on State Route 317, on either end, at least five days prior to the movement that will indicate

“Expect traffic delays – Next ‘X’ days – heavy equipment movement – Expect Detours,” or some similar language.

City officials also require a permit be filed for any tree trimming of tree limbs that overhang in the right of way that is under the jurisdiction of the city of Groveport.

According to city officials, no hauls can occur until the Franklin County Engineer issues a special/heavy haul permit on behalf of the city of Groveport and until all conditions are met.

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