Giant transformers to travel through New Mexico

Hannah Grover
The heaviest load ever to be transported on New Mexico public roads will come through Shiprock. Its final destination is the Pinto substation in Monticello, Utah.

FARMINGTON — The heaviest load ever to be transported on New Mexico public roads will be coming through the Four Corners this week, according to the New Mexico Department of Transportation.

The load contains a transformer made in China and transported to Houston, Texas, via the Panama Canal. From Houston, the transformer, which is more than 411 feet long and weighs more than 1.7 million pounds, was transported to Thoreau using the railroad.

The 22-foot-wide load will be unloaded at Thoreau on Monday and is the first of two shipments that will pass through the area. The second transformer weighs slightly less than the first transformer and will come through the area approximately two weeks after the first, according to the Department of Transportation.

The first transformer is expected to leave Thoreau at approximately 6 a.m. Monday and will be traveling at a rate of 10 mph. It will require one truck pulling and five trucks pushing to move each transformer. It is expected to travel for four to five hours Monday to reach Navajo Route 9 near Crownpoint. From Crownpoint, the load is expected to travel west on Tuesday morning to U.S. Highway 491. The load will be transported starting at 7 p.m. Wednesday from U.S. Highway 491 north of Twin Lakes to U.S. Highway 64 south of Shiprock. On Friday morning, the load will be transported west on U.S. Highway 64 to the Arizona-New Mexico line. From there, the transformers will be transported to Monticello, Utah.

The transformers are part of a project at the Pinto substation in Monticello, Utah.

The New Mexico Department of Transportation is advising drivers to be on the lookout for the heaviest load ever to be transported on New Mexico public roads as it is moved through the Four Corners area to Monticello, Utah.

The Pinto substation, which was built about five years ago, has received attention in recent years due to its connection to the controversial Latigo Wind project, where workers are in the process of installing a series of large windmills in Monticello. Those windmills would be visible from as far away as Cortez, Colo., a distance of approximately 60 miles. The energy generated would enter the electrical grid at the Pinto substation.

The New Mexico State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Bureau will accompany the caravan as it travels through the area, according to the Department of Transportation.

Once the caravan has left the area, the department will inspect the roads for any signs of damage.

Hannah Grover covers Aztec and Bloomfield, as well general news, for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.