Starting Wednesday night, the first of three pairs of gigantic coker vessels are expected to complete a 4 1/2-mile trip from Redondo Beach's King Harbor to Chevron's El Segundo refinery, a Chevron spokesman said.
The transport will affect Highway 1, more commonly known as Sepulveda Boulevard in Manhattan Beach and Pacific Coast Highway in Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach, all the way to Rosecrans Avenue on the north. The transports will turn left on Rosecrans and enter the Chevron refinery from Pacific Avenue.
Hwy. 1 will be closed to traffic with detour routes available.
Starting about 10 p.m. Wednesday, crews will start preparing for the journey to the refinery in El Segundo. The steel vessels will be moved from their position in a huge dirt lot on Herondo Street and to PCH for travel on Sepulveda Boulevard as the entourage moves north.
The first gigantic rig, which is almost as big as the Space Shuttle, should start rolling toward the refinery by about 11 p.m. and arrive about 3 a.m., Chevron spokesman Nathan Rearick said.
The customized transporter, with trucks in front and back like a push me-pull you, is called a California dolly, Rearick said. The rigs will move at 2-3 mph.
Trees have been cut down or trimmed, and electrical lines have been de- energized and taken down to accommodate the move.
Hwy. 1 should reopen no later than 5 a.m., said Rearick.
Officials have been planning the movement of the cokers, cylindrical vessels used for heating crude oil and "cracking" it into lighter petroleum products, for months. Each coker is about 100 feet tall and 28 feet across and weighs about 500,000 pounds.
The cokers were shipped from Spain to the Port of Los Angeles, then barged to King Harbor, where they were rolled onto self-propelled transporters with 32 axles and 128 wheels.
Two other pairs of cokers are scheduled to be unloaded Monday and March 4 and ferried to the refinery Wednesday and March 6.
Once all six cokers are at the refinery, Chevron will build "the world's largest crane" to remove the old coker units and replace them.
The old cokers, built and installed in 1968, will be sold for scrap. The overall project is set for completion in early 2014, Rearick said.
Chevron has set up a hotline for people with questions to call: (310) 615-5298.