47-metre beam en route
The Highly Exceptional Load (HEL) that will reach ITER this week will be one of the most spectacular to date. A 67-metre-long convoy—weighing 300 tonnes and powered by two trailers—will start its slow and careful way along the ITER Itinerary tonight, and take a total of four nights to cover the 104 km to the ITER site.
The first pair of girders reached the Marseille industrial harbour of Fos-sur-Mer on 8 March. © DAHER
The massive convoy is delivering the first of four 47-metre steel girders
that will span the width of the Assembly Hall in order to support the overhead cranes and their heavy charges of up to 1,250 tonnes.
Manufactured in Aviles, Spain, for the European Domestic Agency, the first pair of girders reached the Marseille industrial harbour of Fos-sur-Mer on 8 March. Girder #1 was transferred the next day to a specially designed barge for a four-hour voyage across the inland sea Etang de Berre.
After travelling the length of the Itinerary it will reach the ITER site early on Friday 18 March. Girder #2 is expected on site on 25 March, followed by the delivery of the second pair of girders in May.
View photo gallery below
Long strong twins
Manufactured on the Atlantic coast of Spain, the two twin girders were delivered to Marseille industrial harbour Fos-sur-Mer on 8 March. © Emmanuel Bonici
Barely long enough
The cargo hold of the Fehn Mariner was barely long enough to accommodate the 47-metre long steel beams. © Emmanuel Bonici
The trailer's backbone
Supported by two sets of modular trailers, the girder will form the backbone of the trailer that will travel to ITER. Here, we see the girder loaded onto the barge that will take it across the inland sea Etang de Berre. © Emmanuel Bonici
Pushed by a powerful tug and escorted by a patrol boat of the Gendarmerie Maritime, the barge and its load (trailer plus the 155-ton girder) approaches the entrance of the narrow channel that leads into the Etang de Berre. © Emmanuel Bonici
Passing "The Venice of Provence"
A six-kilometre-long channel, the Canal de Caronte, leads from the Mediterranean Gulf of Fos to the inland sea Étang de Berre. At its narrowest, as it passes the old town of Martigues—dubbed "The Venice of Provence"—its width does not exceed 25 metres. © Emmanuel Bonici
Under the drawbridge
A drawbridge in Martigues lifts to let the barge through. The drawbridge was built in 1962 to replace an old swing bridge. © Emmanuel Bonici
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