LEWISTON — Crews began the arduous process Wednesday of wrestling a 750,000-pound autotransformer from storage in Portland to its eventual home off Larrabee Road in Lewiston.
The transformer will be the key piece in Central Maine Power's new Lewiston substation to be completed in 2014, CMP Public Information Officer John Carroll said.
Crews loaded the autotransformer onto a rail car Wednesday morning and began moving through Falmouth, Yarmouth, New Gloucester and the Twin Cities. It was scheduled to go past its eventual home in the northern part of Lewiston on its way to the offloading site in Leeds.
It's scheduled to be moved from the train to a trailer Thursday.
"It takes almost a day to get it settled on the trailer," Carroll said. "If things get slowed down moving it from the train to the trailer, that gives us an extra day Friday to get it set."
The trailer is a specially designed 16-axle transport with trucks in the front and the back that will make the trip slowly from Greene to Lewiston on Route 202.
The creeper won't go faster than 4 mph, so Carroll said it's expected to make the 6-mile trip to Lewiston in just under two hours.
"And they'll take another day to slide it off the creeper onto the pad," Carroll said.
Lewiston police issued a news release Wednesday afternoon, warning drivers away from Route 202 north of Lewiston while the autotransformer is in transit.
When it's installed, the autotransformer will reduce the voltage along CMP's network from 345,000 volts to 115,000 volts, suitable for delivery to the central Maine region.
It's part of CMP's $1.4 billion Maine Power Reliability Program, which is upgrading a swath of power lines through central Maine to connect to lines from Canada. The lines will pass through Litchfield, Monmouth, Leeds, Greene, Lewiston and a corner of Auburn at the Durham line.
It means four years of construction to erect 442 miles of transmission lines across 75 Maine cities and towns. The program should be finished by 2015, with work in Lewiston wrapping up in 2014.
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