Fossil Fuels / Oil / Power / Tar Sands

Football Field Sized Trucks Head to Canadian Tar Sands with Superloads

Superload truck headed to Canadian tar sands

People in Montana have been noticing some big rigs on their highways, really big rigs.

Special trucks the size of a football field are carrying equipment cargo in “superloads” to the Canadian Tar Sands for oil extraction.

The Billings Gazette reports on the massive size of the trucks:

How big? One load that is coming up from the port of Houston and began its passage through Montana on Wednesday is 20 feet wide, slightly more than 20 feet tall and 290 feet long. It has 90 tires on 24 axles and weighs 917,000 pounds – so heavy that two trucks are attached to the rear to help push it along.


One truck’s cargo, weighing over a million pounds, contains a steam condenser unit headed for the tar sands in Saskatchewan.  Heading in the opposite direction, giant trucks will be bringing natural gas equipment in from Canada to Wyoming.  Not all of the heavy equipment is for detrimental energy projects such as the Canadian tar sands, but some trucks will be carrying giant generator blades to a wind farm in Alberta.  Each load costs about $15,000 a day to ship.

Trucks transporting superloads are becoming an industry standard.  Superloads are under strict restrictions, such as daytime travel only.  These superload trucks often traverse two lane highways because their cargo is too large to fit under interstate overpasses.

All trucks have to pay gross vehicle weight fees and overweight permit fees, and the state tries to weigh each one somewhere on its passage through the state, to make sure it is meeting the gross-weight and per-axle weight limits.

One oil sands company has already notified the state of Montana they plan to bring up to 300 superloads through Montana in 2010 or 2011.

Image:  DAVID GRUBBS/Gazette Staff

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Jennifer lives on 160 acres off-the-grid in a home built with her own two hands (and several more skilled pairs of hands) from forest fire salvaged timber. Her home is powered by a micro-hydro turbine, and she has been a vegetarian for 21 years. Jennifer graduated from Humboldt State University with a degree in art education and has been teaching art to children for over 16 years. She also spent five years teaching in a one-room schoolhouse before becoming the mother of two beautiful children. Jennifer has a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education and is currently teaching preschool, as well as k-8 art. She enjoys writing, gardening, hiking, practicing yoga, and raising four akitas. Jennifer is the founder and editor of Eco Child's Play ( "I’ve always been concerned about the earth and our impact upon it. Now that I have children, I feel compelled to raise them with green values. From organic gardening to alternative energy, my family tries to leave a small carbon footprint." Please visit my other blog: