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Heavy Haulage: On The Turn

“What a fucking moron!”

I did tell you that we try not to swear on the closed channel CB radio system that we used in the trucks didn’t I? Well we do try but it occasionally happens, just like it happens on the police band radios when they are talking amongst themselves.

I know some of the local police officers by name and some by sight but I didn’t know which one belonged to the voice that just filled the cabin of my truck. I also didn’t know the owner of the voice that followed it up with a comment about beginning the pursuit of said moron.

What had happened? Well I couldn’t see everything that had gone on because I was still about eighty metres from the intersection and couldn’t see the entire area clearly but I could make a fairly well educated guess. The police and the roads corp had the intersection under caution, the traffic lights were on flash and there was police cars with lights flashing in the approaching lanes ahead and to the right. They were there to stop any cars from entering the intersection until we had cleared it with our 200 tonne convoy.

There would also be a police car in the approaching lane from the left too, but I couldn’t see him because he’d be about two hundred metres up the road ensuring no vehicle could approach the intersection in the direction we’d be turning. The intersection was large with no centre median strips and although we needed the the power company to lift the power lines over our massive load we should be able to traverse it without riding any kerbs but we’d have to use both our lanes and the lanes of the on coming traffic to do it.

As I say I couldn’t see the entire intersection but what I could see was a car, one of those lowered rice burners with fat tyres and a muffler that announces to the world that a wanker is arriving long before you can see them. Obviously one police car is not wide enough to close an entire carriageway off but because most people are sensible and understand what flashing lights mean they don’t have to be. However the moron in the rice burner was special, they obviously didn’t think the caution was for people like them and not only did they decide they could go through the intersection they decided they could drift through it.

The driver had no doubt approached the intersection at speed, moved into the right hand turning lane avoiding the stationary police car and figured that the police had all other vehicles stopped so they could flick the arse end out and drift through the intersection, turn right and leave the intersection travelling in the same direction I was currently headed. I suppose some credit had to go to the driver for their car handling skills no matter how stupid they were, but from where I was it still looked like they came close to hitting the kerb on the exit of their turn. Had that happened we could easily have been halted at an accident scene but thankfully it didn’t.

I don’t know if the driver knew just how close they came to flipping their ride but they obviously didn’t think the police were going to chase them otherwise they surely wouldn’t have done such a move in front of so many cops. The good news for the driver though was that there was so many dash cams covering that intersection at that particular time that when they were called to court to explain themselves they would have a very hard time defending such stupid behaviour.

So as you can see while fucking moron may not have been the most appropriate response over the police band radio it pretty accurately described the driver of the car the police were chasing up Jacksons Road.

As I could see a set of red and blue flashing lights disappearing up Jacksons Road I head the police band radio squawk, “Free to go Oversize.” followed by Pete’s voice on our channel confirming that we could proceed through the intersection.

By the time all the fun was over I was only about forty meters from the intersection and already preparing for my wide sweeping turn. As I’ve said the intersection was wide but our road was only four lanes wide, William Street was six, which meant I had to have the right hand front wheels of my truck well into the right hand lanes of the wrong side of the road well before I started my turn.

Even with the trailer wheels capable of turning themselves, with the aid of the remote one of the walkers had, it was still going to need a hugely wide sweeping turn too ensure we went under the highest section power lines and cleared any kerbs on the left with Corey’s truck.

“Ok eyes on everything boys, you know the drill. I don’t want to know that we are about to hit something I want to know well before we get there.” I said into the radio as I looked in my side mirror making sure the widest part of the load wasn’t getting too close to the right hand kerb. I couldn’t tell the exact point of the load from the mirrors, that was Angus’ job, but knowing the limits of my vehicle, like any good driver should, I had a fair idea where the load was given where the trailer was.

It was force of habit but as I pulled the truck into the intersection I still leant forward and looked in both directions to make sure there was no traffic coming. Because I had pulled loads of a similar size through the same intersection more times than I could count over the last twenty odd years I already had a plan in my head as to how I was going to handle this load.

That plan was one, easy flowing motion, no jerking, no stopping no sudden changes in direction just pick a line and drive the truck and load around it. The power company should have given me plenty of room by lifting the lines high enough over a wide enough distance that even if I was off line by a few metres I wouldn’t hit them. The saving grace there was that I couldn’t afford to be that far off line and still get this load around without hitting anything.

I’m probably making this a little more dramatic than I have to, in reality it’s not really that much different from what you do when you turn a corner in your car, I knew it would go around the corner without hitting anything, I just had to make it happen.

Previous Heavy Haulage story here.

30 Comments

  1. Love it. I would have liked to be in the passenger seat.

  2. Guess what! A Superload is moving through Laramie tomorrow. It is a Compressor generator building, 140 feet long weighing 400,000pounds.

  3. Wish I could see it.

  4. You tell me! I just heard it on the news. Sunday morning it’s happening. Not here, but close.

    • Someone is bound to film it. The biggest load we ever filmed for the archives was a coal dredger that weighed 725 tonne and moved at 5 m per minute. They moved it from one mine to another a total of about 12 kilometres.

      • Huge! I’ve always been interested in machinery. I know I’m weird. I like to know how things work

        • Our dredgers are some of the biggest of their kind in the world, but there are other dredgers that are a lot bigger. Most of ours are specialist German designed used by only a few countries because of how our coal needs to be dug. My dad designed all the wiring for the power stations here so from about the age of 8 I knew everything there is to know about getting coal out of the ground and turning it into power.

          • Well,then you’d fit right in up here!

            • When they built the later power stations here we had massive loads coming in every few weeks, it got to the point it wasn’t even news worth.

              When they built the most recent station (about ’94) my mate was running the concrete plant. Before the station they ran 5 trucks and often the drivers would only get one load a day, for 18 months while the did the main part of the station they ran the plant 24/7 with 40 trucks running a rotating roster.

              Now the environmentalists just want to shut everything down because brown coal is bad.

              • I can see both sides. In CO I lived in a small town that was home to some miners. And here in WY the industries that used to fuel the economy are so down, stores and businesses closing. Sad to see.

                • Environmentalists don’t care about anything but trees. They don’t care that it costs jobs. They don’t care that coal is still the cheapest and easiest way to make power and the source is almost untapped. It’s all good and well to push wind and wave power but shifting the power from the source costs megabucks. It’s all good saying that sun is a free source but it costs more to make the panels than they will save in years and the greenhouse gasses etc to make wind turbines and solar panels outweigh the amount they save. The problem is people are scared of global warming and governments want to jump anything some scientist says will save the planet.

                  10 years ago our government banned incandescent light globes because they are not efficient. The problem is the CFL’s which they forced manufactures to sell were poisonous to both humans and landfill. But they jumped on the save the world band wagon because some scientist told them it was a good idea without telling them the effects of the replacement. It’s not that different to the mistake they made introducing mosquitoes into the country, it works for five minutes and we pay for it forever.

                  • The mosquito thing is similar to anytime humans try to outthink Mother Nature by removing or adding a predator.

                    • But the thing is they knew what threat the mozzies were to humans, but they were convinced they would not turn into plague proportions because once the rabbits died out the mozzies would too.

                      We’ve done the same with camels in the outback. “Let them run they can’t ruin things out there.” now we have more wild camels than anywhere else in the world.

                      They’ve also done it with the kangaroos “they are endangered anyone caught shooting one goes to jail” now they are at plague proportions and we still can rid the farms of such an evil pest.

                      Kill mice, kill snakes, kill spiders, but don’t touch a camel because the environmentalists don’t know what’s in the outback and don’t understand their threat. And don’t kill a kanagroo because they eat grass and shit in the forests, two things environmentalists don’t see because they protest from their high rise apartments in the cities.

                    • Good points.

                    • of course they are, I made them and I’m a genuine smart arse.

                    • Couldn’t have said it better myself

                    • That’s right because you’d have tried to call me a donkey

              • Seems people don’t think of the concrete business as very important, but they forget they can’t look up down or around without seeing it’s use!

                • They also bitch because it’s supposedly not recyclable but there is a company in town here who developed a new process for recycling concrete and they are making mega bucks when it comes to taking away concrete people think is worthless.

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