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Vanguard's African trek

February 5 - South African heavy lift specialist Vanguard has transported a 130-ton (117.9-tonne) transformer 2,300 km between Johannesburg and Cahora Bassa Power Station, Mozambique.

Vanguard configured an 18-axle trailer to transport the over-dimensional cargo, which was suitable for crossing the majority of 27 bridges on the route. "For bridges not rigid enough to support the transformer's 130-ton load, we worked with BKS and WBHO to construct temporary low-lying bypasses from sand and gravel," says Vanguard's managing director, Bryan Hodgkinson.

The final leg of the journey proved to be the most challenging. The transformer had to be transported through the Songa Mountain Pass, which presented a 35-degree gradient and sharp s-bends. The 49 m trailer and truck combination was too long to negotiate the tight bends, "so we trans-loaded the transformer at the base of the pass, reconfigured the trailer into a more manoeuvrable seven axles, and hauled the load cautiously up the final climb," explained Hodgkinson.

The entire project was executed in three weeks and a number of partners worked together to ensure that the delivery was completed successfully. BKS Group Mozambique were consulted to ensure the project was completed before the start of the rainy season, which would have severely impacted the construction of the temporary bypasses. WHBO was recruited as a subcontractor to aid in the construction of the bypasses. Calmark Solutions was tasked with handling the border crossings from South Africa into Zimbabwe, and onwards into Mozambique. ALC were responsible for the route survey.

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