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Riding the tides: Surfing the St. Lawrence to move a 136-ton transformer

The rugged terrain of Quebec’s Gaspe Peninsula was the perfect setting to showcase our engineered transportation abilities.

This was a big ask: move a 136-ton transformer from a dock at Cacouna, Quebec, on the south shore of the St Lawrence River, to a wind farm near Mont Louis, Quebec.

Transporting the load via the river by barge was the most feasible solution, but no suitable dock existed in the Mont Louis area.

But we love a challenge!

So through detailed surveys and engineering, we developed a plan for a roll-on, roll-off offload at a local beach. Keep in mind, this would only be only possible on the highest of the 7’ tides and even then requiring a 70’ roll on, roll off-ramp.

And all the planets needed to be aligned, too.

When the early spring conditions were just right, we rolled the transformer onto the barge in Cacouna for the 320km journey northeast on the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Mont Louis. The barge was delivered to the beach for the midnight high tide and pulled into place using prime movers.

The next morning, the 70’ engineered ramp was installed from the stern of the barge to the shoulder of the coastal highway. With the help of a local rock truck, the loaded 12-Line hydraulic platform trailer was pulled off the barge and successfully delivered up 10% grades to the wind farm in the adjoining hills, arriving safely intact.