GSS – Blade Move

Global Specialized Services, LLC and Transportation Partners & Logistics have recently partnered for a project out of Enid, Oklahoma, in which 34 wind turbine towers were transported to a wind farm in Crescent, Oklahoma. 

While this would be just another day in the life of a TP&L and GSS employee, this particular story stands out because of the size of the blades. 

They were 80 meters long, making them the largest blades that GSS has ever moved on a traditional beam trailer. 

“The distance between the two locations was only about 50 miles, but the overall length was close to 300 feet going down the road,” said Aaron Nirider, a project manager with GSS. “There were definitely challenges that went along with that, so I guess we’re fortunate that it was only 50 miles.” 

Still, distance aside, the fact that this project transported such large blades nearly 50 miles – without one incident or accident – merits acknowledgement. 

Of course, when transporting blades of that size, as Nirider alluded to, there are a myriad of challenges associated with the transport but, as always, both GSS and TP&L proved that they were up to the challenge. 

“The first big challenge is obviously permitting,” Nirider said. “That includes working with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and getting a permitted route that is doable. The other challenge that comes with that is once you get the permit and are physically running the blades, you have to make sure that we are set up correctly on all of our turns.”

In order to do that, project managers have to work with contractors to pull signs and build radiuses, ensuring that they have enough room to make those corners. 

Matt Athey, the project manager directly involved with this blade move, stated that there are a lot of logistics to consider when it comes to moving blades of any size, let alone blades that are 80 meters long. 

“Permits are a big deal,” he reiterated. “Especially when you’re running that large of components. Especially in Oklahoma, it takes a little longer to get permits back. So there’s a lot of coordination ahead of time to make sure that you have permits for every run.”

Athey stated that GSS ran nine trucks every day that were hauling 12 different components on the route. 

“It shows that we can be efficient, but safe,” Athey said. “We haven’t had any incidents. We’re spacing our trucks out, keeping the DOT happy, the trooper’s happy and, most importantly, the customer happy.”

He stated that GSS has 34 total towers to deliver for this project, with 12 components per tower. The team delivered one tower a day, in order to meet the delivery schedule of the customer. 

Another big consideration throughout this whole process are the actual roads they travel. 

“We had to do a lot of civil work too,” Nirider said. “A lot of pre-project civil work. Coming out of our yard in Enid, Oklahoma, we actually had to build a radius through the right-of-way on Highway 412, so we could travel across the oncoming lane, the median, and into the eastbound lane in order to get these blades out of our yard. This was necessary because we couldn’t make the turn out of our yard on the road that is already there.

So, GSS met with several different civil companies, landscaping companies, and land surveying companies to create a new radius, in order to make the turns with the blades.

“A lot of work was done with drafting, with AutoCAD, AutoTurn, with aerial imagery, and more,” Nirider offered. “A lot of planning was put into place before the project even started, in order to make sure it was successful.”

That reason, and many more, are why GSS, TP&L, and all of the TAKKION companies have cemented themselves as the standard bearers of the wind industry. They put in the work before, during, and after any project for which they are hired. 

“It’s a long process but, in the end, we do everything we can to meet all of our customers’ needs,” Nirider said. “Obviously, in this case, one of their needs was to get these blades to site. So we’re gonna do what it takes to get them to site. It doesn’t matter how long out we need to start working on a project; we’ll start doing it in order to make sure that it’s done right.” 

That is the attitude that separates GSS from any of its competitors. That is the mindset that allows TAKKION to continue to serve customers across the country, ensuring to them that their projects are in the best of hands. 

“These are the largest blades we’ve hauled,” Nirider stated. “It just kind of goes to show you GSS’s capabilities – there’s nothing that we can’t do. As these manufacturers keep coming out with these bigger, longer, and heavier blades, we have to adapt to that. So being able to adapt to that and being versatile, we’re able to keep up in the industry and take on these projects and run them safely and efficiently.