Saturday evening's scheduled transport of the first power plant parts from the port to Dededo will help determine if it's possible to move multiple loads per 12-hour trip, according to Department of Public Works Director Vince Arriola.
He said DPW is about to issue two permits that will allow the power plant parts currently at the port, as well as future power plant parts, to be transported on Marine Corps Drive.
Twelve 70-foot-long bundles of generator parts arrived at the port from South Korea on Nov. 3 and currently are stored atop concrete pillars at the port until contractors get permission to move them. The loads — some of which weigh nearly 200 tons — are the disassembled sections of the Ukudu power plant's heat recovery steam generator.
The loads will roll north at 1 mph on special multi-axle transports to the power plant construction site. The northbound trips will take all evening, and it will take about four hours for the empty transports to return to the port the following evening.
The Guam Power Authority in 2019 signed a contract with a consortium formed by Korea Electric Power Corporation and Korea East-West Power Company that will finance, build and operate the new 198-megawatt power plant and sell the electricity to GPA.
The fuel-efficient plant is scheduled to start operating in early 2024, significantly reducing the amount of fuel needed to generate power for the island and lowering power bills for GPA customers. The plant will burn ultra-low-sulfur diesel, and the exhaust heat will be used to make steam for additional power, providing more energy from each barrel of fuel.
Doosan Ukudu Power on Wednesday announced that the first transport will happen Saturday evening.
The company posted a schedule on its website "poweronthemove.com," identifying alternate routes for motorists during different stages of the transport. The transports are scheduled to reach Marine Corps Drive in Piti at about 6 p.m. and will be at the Route 8 intersection in Hagåtña at about 10:45 p.m. The transports will pass the Public Works compound in upper Tumon at about 3:42 a.m. and leave Marine Corps Drive, at the access road to Two Lovers Point, at about 6:12 a.m., the schedule states.
Arriola said motorists should try to avoid Marine Corps Drive during the transports, although the traffic plan calls for at least one northbound lane to remain open.
The transports will impact southbound traffic at some major intersections because the loads must temporarily shift to the southbound lanes to avoid hitting traffic signal arms. Contractors in recent months have removed sections of median to allow the loads to cross back to the northbound lanes.
The two permits to be issued by DPW are an encroachment permit and an overweight load permit, Arriola said.
DPW required the contractors to purchase insurance to cover any damage to the road, bridges and utilities, Arriola said, adding Saturday's move could be postponed if DPW does not receive the final insurance policies by Friday. He said contractors purchased $25 million in insurance coverage.
"The reason for doing it on Saturday is … it's a weekend, less traffic than on the weekdays, even if we're moving at night," Arriola said, adding it will allow Sunday to be used to repair any damage and, "take care of whatever issues we have. We don't expect that to happen, but just in case."
"We're going to learn a lot from the first trip," Arriola said, including whether it's possible to double up the loads on future trips. "As we speak, there's additional generator equipment headed to Guam as well."
According to GPA, two gas turbines and two generators are scheduled to arrive in early February, three gas turbine generator transformers and a steam turbine generator transformer are scheduled to arrive in mid-February, and another gas turbine and generator are scheduled to arrive in late February.
An assembled steam turbine, a hydraulic power unit and a condenser are scheduled to arrive in April, according to GPA.
"We've been as diligent as we could, doing this project," Arriola said, including engineering assessments of the route which have been reviewed by multiple consultants. "We've done everything we can to make sure there is no damage. Nobody here has a crystal ball, but we try to prepare for the worst and plan for the best."