Large barge takes to the highway

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A large barge made its way through Hay River on Sept. 20 in the final part of a highway journey all the way from Edmonton to the Great Slave Lake, and later up the Mackenzie River to Norman Wells.

A large barge called Aurora Yukon – being transported by highway from Edmonton – approaches the crosswalk in front of the Rooster convenience store on the Mackenzie Highway on Sept. 20. Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

The Aurora Yukon was moved from its manufacturer in Edmonton to its new owner.

The highway stretch of the journey in the NWT – from the Alberta/NWT border to Vale Island – began around 1 p.m. on Sept. 20 and ended at about 3:30 p.m. that afternoon.

According to Greg Hanna, a communications co-ordinator with the Department of Infrastructure in Yellowknife, the move in the NWT proceeded without incident for the barge, which filled two lanes on the highway.

“There were minimal traffic delays, as the load was moving at 60 km/h,” he said in response to e-mailed questions from The Hub, noting that traffic was cleared at pullouts, which were about 30 minutes apart. 

According to Transport Canada information, the steel barge is 28.8 meters long and 9.9 meters wide, and was constructed by Waiward Steel in Edmonton. It is owned by Imperial Oil Resources NWT Limited in Norman Wells.

The move from Edmonton was done by Mammoet Canada.

Ron Hynes, the company’s manager of marketing, communications and public relations in Edmonton, said the whole trip north proceeded smoothly.

“It was without incident,” he said.

However, he noted such a large load did have some effect on motorists as traffic had to be stopped in stages to make way for the barge.

Hynes said the whole load was about 188 feet long after taking into account a tractor at the front of the barge and another tractor behind it.

The oversized load left Edmonton in the very early hours of Sept. 18.

Hanna of the Department of Infrastructure said it is not unusual for something so large to be moved on NWT highways.

“We see several wide loads every year on our highway system,” he said.

Hanna noted the move from the Alberta/NWT border to Vale Island took less than three hours.

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