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See Article— USA Today

How Do You Transport a Long Reach Excavator

Published by Tamar Hela.

What's in this article?
  1. The Importance of Safe and Efficient Transport
  2. Challenges of Transporting a Long-Reach Excavator
  3. Considerations When Transporting a Long-Reach Excavator
  4. Loading and Unloading a Long-Reach Excavator
  5. Ramps and Design
  6. Positioning and Weight Distribution
  7. Tie-Down Process
  8. Modes of Transport for Shipping Excavators
  9. Flatbed Trailers
  10. Container Shipping
  11. Roll On/Roll Off Ships
  12. Heavy Haul Trucking
  13. Conclusion
How Do You Transport a Long Reach Excavator

Transporting heavy construction equipment like long reach excavators requires careful planning and preparation. These powerful machines can weigh over 100,000 pounds and reach up to 100 feet or more. Safely and efficiently moving such large loads on public roads and highways presents unique challenges.

In this article, we’ll explore the key considerations for transporting long reach excavators. We’ll look at the dimensions and weight of these machines, choice of adequate transport vehicles, types of trailers used, loading and unloading procedures, and different modes of transport. We’ll also highlight important safety factors when hauling oversized excavators on roads and highways.

It’s critical to follow proper techniques and regulations when moving long-reach excavators. This ensures the safety of the transport crew, other motorists, and the excavator. It also minimizes permitting issues and prevents costly damage due to accidents. When done correctly, transporting these machines can be accomplished smoothly and efficiently.

excavator-1.jpg

The Importance of Safe and Efficient Transport

Safely and efficiently moving a long-reach excavator to a job site is critical for several reasons. First, these machines represent a major capital investment for a contractor. Damage during transport can lead to expensive repairs and downtime.

Second, transporting oversized loads on public roads creates hazards if not done properly. A long-reach excavator may occupy two lanes of traffic. Its long front end can also swing out, making wide turns dangerous. Following proper transport techniques minimizes safety issues.

Finally, efficient transport reduces costs. Excessive permitting issues, delays due to accidents, or even choosing inadequate transport equipment can waste significant time and money. Proper planning streamlines the process.

In summary, safely and efficiently transporting a long-reach excavator reduces the risk of damage, improves job site productivity, and lowers costs. Careful attention to transport considerations is essential.

Challenges of Transporting a Long-Reach Excavator

Several factors make transporting a long-reach excavator more complex than hauling standard equipment:

  • Weight – A long-reach excavator can weigh 100,000 lbs or more. Heavy haul trailers and tractors are required to handle such loads. Special permits are also needed.
  • Dimensions – With boom extensions, these machines can reach over 100 feet long. Transport vehicles must accommodate the length. Wide turns also require special considerations.
  • Overhang – The long front end of the excavator will overhang the trailer. Proper weight distribution prevents tipping.
  • Weak Points – The attachment joints and pivot points on the boom and arm must be adequately supported to prevent damage.
  • High Center of Gravity – The cab sits high atop the undercarriage, creating a high center of gravity. Tipping risks must be minimized during transport.
  • Permitting – Oversize/overweight permits are required in each jurisdiction. Advanced planning helps secure permits.

In summary, specialized transport equipment and techniques are needed to safely and efficiently transport long reach excavators. Careful planning minimizes permitting issues, damage risks, and accidents.

Considerations When Transporting a Long-Reach Excavator

Successfully moving a long-reach excavator requires examining several key considerations well in advance:

Dimensions and Weight

  • Know the excavator’s specifications, including length, width, height, and weight. This determines the permits required and equipment needed.
  • With extensions, the length can exceed 100 feet. Confirm legal dimensions for each jurisdiction.
  • Weight typically ranges from 90,000 to 130,000 lbs. Verify bridge, road, and permit weight limits.

Adequate Transport Vehicle

  • The tractor must have sufficient horsepower and axle configurations to haul the load.
  • The number of trailers needed depends on weight distribution limits and permitting.
  • All trailers must have adequate capacity, proper axle configurations, and be rated for the load.
  • Deck space must accommodate tracks, undercarriage, counterweights, and boom/arm.
  • Vehicle lighting must meet regulations. Escort vehicles may be required.

Trailer Types

  • Lowboy trailers are commonly used, but specialized trailers like Schnabel cars or girders work for longer loads.
  • Deck space, ramp capacity, and drawer beams allow loading/unloading.
  • Proper trailer spreading helps distribute weight appropriately.
  • Trailers equipped with specialized counterweight boxes prevent tipping.

Safety Transporting Oversized Loads

  • Pilot cars and escort vehicles help secure the load and warn other drivers.
  • Flags, signs, and lights make the load visible and follow regulations.
  • Law enforcement escorts are needed for super loads in many jurisdictions.
  • Rigging tools like spreader bars help stabilize and prevent shifting.

Critical factors like weight, dimensions, vehicle capacity, and safety considerations must be addressed to transport long-reach excavators.

excavator-2.jpg

Loading and Unloading a Long-Reach Excavator

Loading and unloading present critical moments during transport when accidents and damage are most likely. Proper techniques and equipment prevent problems.

Ramps and Design

  • Ramps must be designed to carry the excavator’s weight. Too steep of an incline can cause track slippage.
  • Ramps should be equipped with proper soil compaction and gravel to prevent sinking.
  • Lowboy trailers often have adjustable ramps and collapsible goosenecks to aid loading/unloading.

Positioning and Weight Distribution

  • Proper boom positioning lowers the center of gravity and distributes weight evenly across trailer axles.
  • Counterweights may need to be removed and loaded separately to comply with regulations.
  • The loading position keeps the swing radius contained and prevents side-to-side movement in transit.

Tie-Down Process

  • Chains, straps, shackles, and rub rails properly secure the excavator and prevent shifting.
  • Pivots and attachment points require additional blocking and bracing.
  • Spreader bars or an overhead crane help stabilize the boom during the tie-down process.
  • All tie-downs must be inspected and adjusted after initially hitting the road.

With adequate ramps, proper positioning, and secure tie-downs, loading and unloading a long-reach excavator can be done safely and efficiently.

Modes of Transport for Shipping Excavators

When an excavator needs to be transported at significant distances, several modes of transport can be utilized. See below for a brief overview of each:

Flatbed Trailers

  • The most common method for transporting excavators is short and long distances.
  • Trailer size and capacity must match the excavator's weight and dimensions.
  • Permitting is required for oversize/overweight loads on roads.
  • Pilot cars and proper flags/lighting must be used.

Container Shipping

  • Smaller excavators can be transported in standard containers.
  • Larger models require flat rack containers secured to a container ship.
  • Loading into containers may require the disassembly of attachments.

Roll On/Roll Off Ships

  • Excavators can roll or drive on and off RO/RO cargo ships.
  • Firm loading ramps allow tracks to grip. Choking prevents rolling.
  • Permits may still be needed based on weight.

Heavy Haul Trucking

  • Specialized trucks with multiple axle configurations are used for super loads.
  • Often, it requires expensive special permitting and route planning.
  • Police escorts and restrictions on time of day hauls required.

Selecting the right mode of transport depends on many factors, including cost, delivery deadline, and excavator size.

excavator-3.jpg

Conclusion

Transporting a long-reach excavator presents unique challenges due to the machine's massive size, weight, and dimensions. Careful planning and preparation are required to move these oversized loads safely and efficiently.

The choice of adequate trailers and tractors matched to the excavator's specifications is critical. Proper permitting, experienced transport crews, and safe loading/unloading procedures prevent accidents, damage, and delays. Various modes of transport can be utilized for long-distance shipping.

With thoughtful attention to transport considerations, long-reach excavators can be delivered to the job site intact and ready for productive work. Companies specializing in hauling heavy construction equipment are invaluable resources to handle these complex transports.

Moving a long-reach excavator requires tremendous expertise to handle the massive size and weight safely and within regulations.

Let A1 Auto Transport haul your equipment with our specialty transport equipment and experienced crews. We have successfully transported thousands of excavators and other heavy machinery. Contact us today for a free quote.

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Tamar Hela is one of our featured writers at A-1 Auto Transport, researching everything from AI auto shipments out of China to what paperwork is required to move long distance. We can safely say she's become well versed in all things shipping and logistics while making the information easy to digest and understandable. 

Tamar has been a copywriter for over 16 years and was trained in the 7-Figure Copywriting Accelerator course through American Writers & Artists, Inc. (AWAI). She's also an incredibly seasoned copyeditor, having previously been the Chief Editor and Publishing Director for Cosby Media Productions, based in Atlanta, Georgia. 

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