SEARSPORT, Maine — There have been a few traffic delays along roads in Waldo County this week as contractors moved a 286-ton electrical transformer from the Mack Point Marine Cargo Terminal in Searsport to Central Maine Power Company’s new Albion Road Substation in Benton.
The transformer, which is 15 feet tall, 13 feet wide and 38 feet long, arrived in Searsport last week following a three-month ocean voyage from Taiwan, according to CMP.
Escorted by Maine State Police, the piece of machinery began the 45-mile trip to Benton on Monday on a 16-axle tractor-trailer rig, according to CMP spokesman John Carroll.
On Monday, the truck traveled south on Route 1 in Searsport into Belfast, north on Route 141 to Swanville, west on Route 131 to Waldo and west on Route 137 to Knox. It left Knox early Tuesday morning and continued along Route 137 through Unity to Freedom before traveling south on Route 202 to Albion and west on Benton Road to Albion Road in Benton, arriving at the site late morning.
Travel was slow as workers with J. Supor & Son Trucking & Rigging Co. of Kearny, N.J., had to stop occasionally to place steel supports on the road to help distribute the transformer’s weight as it was driven over culverts and small bridges.
The Albion Road substation transformer will be among the largest units in the CMP system, which is undergoing a $1.4 billion transmission line upgrade.
The five-year project includes the construction of six new 345,000 volt substations, upgrades to more than 40 existing substations and the installation or rebuilding of nearly 440 miles of transmission line in 75 communities from Eliot to Orrington, according to CMP.
Transformers are used to raise or lower voltage on electrical systems. The Albion Road transformer will step down transmission line voltage from 345,000 volts to 115,000 volts to supply the electrical grid for communities in Franklin, Kennebec, Piscataquis, Somerset and Waldo counties.
CMP, a subsidiary of Iberdrola USA, is Maine’s largest electricity transmission and distribution company, serving more than 600,000 customers.