A pair of enormous crates carrying parts of a South Korea-bound drilling ship will be transported along highways through the Houston area over the next four days.
According to Ronnie Smith, owner of Smith Specialized Logistics, it is one of the biggest moves by tractor-trailers ever in the Houston area, requiring a caravan of more than 30 Texas state troopers and 20 cherry-picker trucks to block traffic.
“We just want to put the word out there, so the public will stay away from these places so traffic wouldn’t be so bad,” Smith said.
The crates are holding three sections of a drilling ship that has been ordered by Samsung Heavy Industries, said Denton Townson, public relations director for Smith Specialized Logistics.
“This has been in the planning for months,” Townson said. “We have done some big loads, but this is definitely the biggest route with the biggest boats we have ever transported.”
Two flatbed trucks will be carrying the two crates. The first is 56-feet long, 24-feet wide and 27- feet high. The second is 30-feet long, 16-feet wide and 24-feet high.
The 108-mile move is scheduled to begin today, August 2, at 7:00 p.m. at W-Industries in northwest Houston, where the drill ship was manufactured. It will conclude at Bayport Terminal on August 6.
The Bayport Terminal is a major port along the Bayport Ship Channel off Galveston Bay. The drill ship will then be transported by containers on a freighter bound for South Korea.
The crates will be traveling through some of the busiest roadways in Houston, including State Highway 99 (the Grand Parkway), I-69 (the Southwest Freeway) and Highway 288. There will also be rolling roadblocks as the tractor trailers make their way through backroads, service roads, farm-to-market roads and county roads.
The biggest traffic delay involves a section of the I-45 Gulf Freeway, which will be closed to all traffic the night of Monday, August 5.
In addition, workers will move power lines and temporarily relocate some traffic signs to accommodate the crates.
Houston-based Smith Specialized Logistics has been in operation for around five years, but its founder Ronnie Smith has been in the freight-hauling business for 20 years.
“We live for stuff like this! We will haul anything, big, small or the stuff that’s harder to ship,” Townson said.