ONANOLE, Man. - Even by Minty's Moving standards, it was a tall order. Move a 160-foot-tall, 280-tonne grain elevator 20 miles. Throw in a couple of steep hills and some icy roads. But the Onanole, Ma...
TALL ORDER: A 1992 Kenworth T800 high hood truck pulled this 160-foot tall, 280-tonne grain elevator 20 miles during a recent move by Minty’s Moving.
STRANGE SIGHT: Motorists were intrigued to see this elevator on wheels being transported from one Manitoba site to another.
ONANOLE, Man. – Even by Minty’s Moving standards, it was a tall order. Move a 160-foot-tall, 280-tonne grain elevator 20 miles. Throw in a couple of steep hills and some icy roads. But the Onanole, Man.-based mover and its reliable Kenworth trucks were up to the task.
Minty’s latest trophy move was transporting the 16-storey structure from La Riviere to Somerset in the heart of Manitoba’s breadbasket. It was easily the tallest building ever moved by Minty’s, according to owner Harold Minty.
Moving the grain elevator took eight days. The terrain and cold winter weather made the move extremely challenging.
“We had to go from a deep valley up and down hills with grades as steep as 13 per cent going up and 10 per cent going down,” Minty said. “We had to manoeuvre through sharp turns. And the Manitoba Department of Highways had to grade the snow off the road and spread salt and sand to clear the way…Going up hill with a grade as high as 13 per cent and down at an 10 per cent grade with a load 160 feet tall on rubber gets a little wild!”
The grain elevator’s extreme height also required careful adjustments along the route.
“It is unbelievable how quick the load changes with the center of gravity being so high,” said Minty.
The crew used a special 84-wheel, self-leveling dolly system designed to keep the grain elevator level, even on a 13 per cent grade. Operators manually adjusted the dollies for side-to-side level, while the system automatically adjusted for end-to-end level.
Three Kenworths were used for the move. Minty’s “workhorse” 1992 Kenworth T800 high hood with a 425-horsepower Caterpillar and an eight-speed “double under” transmission with a four-speed auxiliary provided power in the front. A 1980 W900 with a 450-horsepower Caterpillar and a 1969 W900 with a 290-horsepower engine pushed from the back on inclines and helped brake going downhill. The two W900s use a five-speed with a four-speed auxiliary.
“We use the ’92 every time we have a big load to move and it always comes through. It only has 747,000 kilometers so I expect it to keep going strong at least 10 more years.”
Despite the reliability of the equipment used on this move, it didn’t quite go off without a hitch.
“Going up the hill the first day we had our two pusher trucks at the rear assisting on the climb,” recalled Minty. “At the start of the hill we did all our checks with the brakes on all axles applied and our driver didn’t wait long enough for the brakes to release and ended up snapping the main drive shaft.”
At this point, two D75 Komatsu dozers were brought in to get them out of this bind and help pull the load to the halfway point of the hill. The drive shaft was repaired the next morning and everything was back in order. When you specialize in heavy hauling, you have to expect the odd curveball to be thrown your way, Minty admitted.
Minty’s has been moving buildings for close to 60 years. Minty’s father, Victor, began by moving a small building for his uncle.
“One move led to another and we kept taking on bigger jobs,” Minty said. When Harold bought the business in 1975, the company specialized in heavy hauls.
Over the years, Minty’s has hauled 95 per cent of the bridge girders moved in Manitoba, with the largest girders measuring over 12 feet tall and 137 feet long. Minty’s also moved a complete skating rink – 64 feet wide by 208 feet long – some 65 miles. The company recently bid on moving a 665-tonne refinery component through the streets of Montreal.
While this latest move was the tallest building ever moved by Minty’s, it wasn’t the heaviest. In 2002, Minty’s moved a 400-tonne, 95-foot tall grain elevator.
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