“Ya stupid fucking wingnut!”
Oh yeah we got past that didn’t we. Sadly it wont be the last wingnut we see on the trip, one thing you can guarantee doing this job is that you see wingnuts, morons, dumbarses, dick heads and downright stupid people who really don’t deserve to share the same air as the rest of us. For some, their actions on the road make it seem like they are trying to remove themselves from the gene pool and stop breathing our air, but too often these idiots take other people with them and that’s just not fair.
Ok so before we made a successful negotiation of the intersection of Williams Street and Sanders Street several things were going to have to happen. As you already know the police and the roads corporation were closing of the intersections for us to keep them traffic free but our biggest problem with the upcoming intersection wasn’t traffic, it was size.
We’d be turning right into Sanders Street but Sander Street was only two lanes wide which meant we’d be going from three lanes at the intersection, there is a right turning only lane at the traffic lights, and immediately into two lanes with a shoulder each side. The shoulder was important because without the shoulders, which were used as a push bike lane, the road would not be wide enough for our load and we’d have been forced to go even further out of our way. As it was we always had bureaucratic issues with permits for Sanders Street because of the weights of the loads we carried but we can’t blame the pen pushers following their supervisors guidelines for shit like that, they are only doing their jobs. We just have to work with it until it’s pointed out to the guys at the top with no real idea about the job they are doing how Sanders Street is the best option and we are willing to pay for the privilege.
So what did all that mean to us? Well it was kind of like the first turn we did into Williams Street only this time we were going right. The first thing I would do is slow the rig down, back to walking pace again, and I would do that at least fifty metres before the intersection. As the walkers got out and took up their positions at the extremities of the load I would steer the beast as far to the left as I could get it. My first point of reference would be when Trey radioed in to tell me that the front left corner of the big box was over the left hand kerb at which point I’d be waiting for Jimmy to tell me the same thing about the left rear.
Once the left outer edge of our load was tracking over the kerb and channel I would then prepare to make a long sweeping right hand turn through the intersection. Providing I turned before the left corner hit the traffic light and pulled a slow easy angle into the intersection the right hand side of the load would miss the traffic light stalk in the small centre median strip.
When my tractor and the dolly were half way into the intersection I’d begin my turn right letting the load follow. At the same Trey would be watching the left hand side of the load using the trailer remote to begin turning the axles. He wouldn’t turn them all at the same time but because we’d be moving so slowly he could easily afford to turn each one as needed. While Corey and I were the power the trailer would help us by steering itself around the tight corner without dragging tyres and allowing us a tighter circle than if the axles were solid mounted as they are on most trailers.
“Clear on left Matt.” Trey called into the radio. It was all I needed to be told to know we were tracking right because with minute movements he’d put me over the exact spot we needed to be.
I started to pull my tractor into the intersection, I knew I had about eight to ten meters before I had to pull the left corner away from the traffic light but again I was not worried because we were moving slowly and I trusted Trey not to let me get to close before telling me to turn.
Several seconds later Trey’s voice filled the cabin again. “Right hand down now Matt.” Again I didn’t need explanations or instructions, right hand down simply meant turn the steering wheel to the right and because we were only setting up the turn and clearing the traffic light poles I knew it wasn’t hard right.
We crept into the intersection slowly, there was no other calls on the radio. The first time doing such a trip like that the lack of radio chatter can be a little unnerving, the guys with the radios are your eyes and ears, but like I’ve told you I trust these guys and to me radio silence meant we were doing everything right.
A few seconds later Stan’s voice came across the airwaves, “Clear on right.” We all knew that meant we could start the major part of the turn.
I would turn harder right hand down pulling the tractor and the dolly in a sweeping turn. At the same time Trey would use the remote and start turning the trailer axles, not only keeping the swinging left rear corner, which tracks wider the harder the turn becomes, from hitting anything but pushing the trailer into the corner. Corey would then follow, gentle throttle pushing the rear of the trailer around with his tractor.
Having got that far into the turn without any issues are all things were looking great for a nice clean exit. The only hurdle we would have was that because of my wide track I would need to mount the kerb before I could straighten the rig up. Mounting the kerb with the trailer is always something we try to avoid even if the trailer can be adjusted to make the job easier but there is always two other problems with the tractors mounting the kerb.
The first one was that I needed to make sure the tractor and the dolly were off the kerb in enough time that the trailer axles didn’t follow them. Again that’s what walkers are for and I was confident that we’d easily get ourselves back on level ground before the trailer even looked like hitting a kerb.
The second problem with mounting kerbs was one that nearly always came back to bite us on the arse after the job was finished and that was over zealous, power hungry, money grabbing, dead shit councils who see a bit of grass pulled up and want to charge us $500 for damage they will never repair. After years of doing such jobs we had got ourselves to the stage where in certain councils we’d send a crew out after we’d passed to repair any areas of grass we’d pulled up, but that didn’t stop the councils claiming the job wasn’t done well enough and sending us a bill.
We did better than I thought and as the front wheels of the tractor gently rode the kerb down onto the bitumen we’d managed to pull the load around past the traffic lights on the right and clear Corey’s truck for the final part of the turn without the drive axles of my tractor riding the kerb. If we could get this thing straight we’d be on Sander Street and increasing speed in no time.
Previous Heavy Haulage story here.