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Massive transformer stuck for hours during move to Deerfield substation

Union Leader Correspondent

April 18. 2018 9:06PM
This 151,000-pound transformer was moved from Route 43 in Deerfield Wednesday evening. (Jason Schreiber)

Officials said they expected this trailer carrying a massive transformer would be moved off of Route 43 by Wednesday night. (Jason Schreiber)

DEERFIELD — A massive 515,000-pound transformer on the move from Manchester to an Eversource substation in Deerfield created travel headaches for local drivers after it ended up stuck for more than 24 hours on Route 43.

The transformer trouble forced the closure of Route 43 near the intersection of Route 107 as crews worked to fix a mechanical problem with the trailer.

“It is a very unusual situation,” said Scott Boddy, project manager for Edwards Moving and Rigging, a Kentucky company hired to transport the transformer to the substation on Cate Road.

The company began its slow-moving delivery of the transformer early Tuesday morning for what was supposed to be a one-day move, with the equipment arriving at the substation by Tuesday night, Boddy said.

The new transformer will replace older equipment at the substation.

The mechanical issue forced the moving crew to stop on Route 43 near the intersection with Route 107 Tuesday afternoon. It was still stuck there Wednesday afternoon, but by evening it was moved out of the way to a nearby gravel parking lot Wednesday night.

“We certainly appreciate the significant inconvenience this delay has caused for motorists and the town of Deerfield, and we have been keeping in close contact with town officials to pass along any updates and information provided to us by the company that is overseeing the delivery of the transformer to our substation in Deerfield,” Eversource spokesman Kaitlyn Woods said in a statement.

Boddy said the trailer has 18 axles and is designed to carry a heavy load. When asked if the weight could have been too much, Boddy said he didn’t think that was the problem, but that he wasn’t sure what caused the issue with the trailer.

“This is what we specialize in. There’s a lot of planning that goes into this. There’s a lot of preparation and review of all the processes that it takes. Unfortunately, we had a small mechanical issue that caused the delay,” he said.

Boddy said safety is the company’s “No. 1 goal” and that it tries to plan for every possible situation.

Woods said months of planning went into the logistics of the move, and that “fortunately Edwards is executing a contingency plan that will help ensure the transformer is safely moved out of the way while repairs to the trailer can be completed and the transformer can be safely moved to the substation.”

Public Safety Deerfield Transportation

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