Updated June 29, 2020 - 3:39 pm
After months of preparation, the largest load to travel on Nevada roads set off from Apex in North Las Vegas on Monday morning.
The 1.5 million-pound, 16.5-foot-diameter decommissioned reactor pressure vessel from Southern California Edison’s San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station left at 4:30 a.m. on its journey from Apex to Clive, Utah.
To keep the load off Interstates 15 and 80, the vessel is mainly traveling on U.S. Highway 93 and state Route 318 before crossing the Utah border, according to Tony Illia, spokesman for the Nevada Department of Transportation.
The massive load is being transported by Emmert International on a 122-foot-long trailer powered by six heavy-duty Class 8 trucks.
“The record-sized move over state highways marks the culmination of over a year of planning and coordination across three states,” Illia said. “At 2.4 million total pounds, it’s the heaviest load to ever cross Nevada roadways.”
Pilot cars and Nevada Highway Patrol vehicles are escorting the rig and assisting with scheduled pullouts and traffic control. There is a 20-mile detour on state Route 168 that motorists can opt to take, allowing them to avoid the convoy.
The total convoy spans almost 2 miles in length, including extra trucks, mechanics and project managers.
The extreme weight of the super-load will be dispersed across 460 tires, preventing damage to state roads and bridges. Crews reinforced drainage culverts along the route using shoring and hydraulic jacks to prevent damage to public infrastructure.
The vessel’s journey to Utah is expected to take eight days to complete, with it not traveling between Thursday and Sunday to minimize impact on Independence Day travelers.