Crabbing the creek

Much like a stock car cleaning its tires under the caution flag, the neon green and black International rig weaved its way side-to-side as it crossed the Loyalsock Creek on I-180.

Unlike a stock car, which under caution still is doing highway speeds, this truck moved very, verrry, slowwwly.

In the middle of two long, red trailers, hinged in the middle – called “winged dollies” – sat a transformer weighing a little more than 94 tons, on its way to the Robert Moses Niagara Hydroelectric Power Station a few miles upriver from Niagara Falls.

It was J. Supor & Son Trucking, of Kearny, N.J., moving the transformer, the same company that moved the U.S. Airways plane that Captain Chesley Sullenberger landed in the Hudson River from New York to the Carolinas Aviation Museum in Charlotte.

The 19-axle rig, with another truck running in back to keep the whole thing stable, “crabbed” its way across the ‘sock to relieve pressure on the bridge. That bridge will undergo further improvements by HRI Inc. beginning today.

The transformer, made by Jiangsu Huapeng Transformer Co., of China, entered America at the Port of Camden, N.J. It crossed the Loyalsock around 6:20 p.m.

The whole load, estimated at 437,000 pounds, couldn’t have been moving much faster on its whole trip than the 30 miles per hour or so it accelerated up to after making a stop to readjust after the bridge crossing – the load was supposed to be in the area by 5 p.m., at the latest.

A few curiosity-seekers hung around the Loyalsock or stopped along the Beltway, waiting on the transformer to be lugged through the region.

Alda and Art Molyneux were sitting along Broad Street in their Chevy Trailblazer, with their Maltese-Pomeranian mix Tessa bouncing around the interior, watching the bridge before they went to fill their tank.

“We’re crazy for doing things like this,” Alda said. “We used to live in Georgia. I was at home doing the dishes and we heard the Concorde was at the Atlanta airport. We just dropped everything and went.”

Rick Mosteller heard about the load coming through from a co-worker, and pulled off to the side of I-180 to wait for its arrival.

“Stuff like that just amazes me,” Mosteller said. “It’s pretty amazing to haul that much weight for that much distance.”