Walbridge Equipment Installation (now Walbridge Industrial Process) hauled an eight-component steam turbine generation system by barge up the Mississippi River from New Orleans, then loaded the 1.5-million-pound cargo onto a railcar, which then carried the system nearly four miles to its destination at the energy center in Cordova, Ill.
Upon arrival, Walbridge lifted the system components 32 feet and moved them approximately 100 feet into their respective structure. During the barge travel, the project team discovered endangered Higgins Eye mussels inhabiting the area of the river needed for transporting the generator system, so a diving team was contracted to relocated 425 individual mussels upstream.
Other challenges included dropping water levels near the river banks, having to trim back trees to get the components on land, traveling narrow urban roads with a wide load and controlling crowds who gathered to see the large equipment move. Crews spent three days loading the barge cargo in New Orleans, four weeks on the Mississippi, four days off-loading and hauling to Cordova, and one day removing the cargo from the rail car. The project was completed on time and within budget.