09/06/11 — Company to transport large-scale equipment

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Company to transport large-scale equipment

By From staff reports
Published in News on September 6, 2011 1:46 PM

Motorists who travel on U.S. 117 between Dudley and U.S. 13 and on U.S. 13 to Providence Church Road could experience some delays over the next two months as Progress Energy transports several large pieces of equipment to the site of its new $900 million power plant off Black Jack Church Road.

Other roads that will be affected include the Old Mount Olive Highway Sleepy Creek Road, Providence Church Road and Old Grantham Road.

The public can call 919-739-5450 to get an update on whether any heavy-haul transports will take place that week.

Starting at the Georgia-Pacific rail siding on Old Mount Olive Road at Dudley, the heavy-haul rigs will travel:

* West on Sleepy Creek Road

* North on U.S. 117

* West on U.S. 13

* North on Providence Church Road

* West on Old Grantham Road, and

* North on Black Jack Church Road, ending at the H.F. Lee Energy Complex southwest of Goldsboro.

The return trip will be the reverse of the route outlined above.

Eight large pieces of plant equipment will be transported between now and October. This includes steam generators, electrical generators and transformers. They weigh up to 325 tons and are transported on heavy-haul rigs as long as 110 feet and as wide as 20 feet with as many as 18 axles.

The rigs move at about 3 to 9 mph. State Department of Transportation regulations usually require that the moves occur Monday through Saturday during daylight hours.

Each move will be coordinated with the DOT and Highway Patrol, with troopers escorting each load along the 12.2-mile route.

The rigs used for most of the moves will take up only one lane, which might allow traffic to pass at some points along the route. But some of the larger equipment will require rigs that span more than one lane, making it impossible for traffic to pass, even on four-lane divided roads. The Highway Patrol will determine when it is safe for vehicles to pass.

Progress Energy Carolinas broke ground in September 2010 on a 950-megawatt (MW) combined-cycle power plant at the H.F. Lee Energy Complex. The plant will be fueled by natural gas, resulting in a significant reduction in emissions as compared to the current coal-fired units.

The three existing coal-fired units at the site will be retired once the new unit comes online, which is expected in 2013.

The project is expected to create more than 700 construction jobs over the 24-month building process. Piedmont Natural Gas is building a pipeline to the site, enhancing gas supply to the region.

The new plant will increase the amount of electricity that can be produced at the site by about 550 MW (550,000 kilowatts), while reducing overall emissions, including carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and mercury. Unlike the existing gas-fired units at the Lee Plant, the new units will be operated in combined cycle, meaning exhaust heat is captured and recycled through a turbine generator, making them highly efficient in meeting changing customer demand for electricity.

By the end of 2014, the company intends to permanently shut down all of its remaining coal-fired power plants in the state that do not have flue-gas desulfurization controls (scrubbers).

The company will close a total of 11 coal-fired units, totaling nearly 1,500 MW at four sites in the state. That represents about 30 percent of the company's coal-fired power generation fleet in North Carolina.