200-foot tractor-trailer passes through Lexington

gkocher1@herald-leader.comFebruary 20, 2012 

A big rig monopolized a major Lexington thoroughfare late Monday afternoon as it transported a piece of equipment for the chemical-destruction plant in Madison County.

The 200-foot-long tractor-trailer carrying an empty 100-ton steel vessel arrived at Man o' War Boulevard in Lexington shortly before 4 p.m., nearly an hour earlier than expected, officials said. About 6 p.m. the truck arrived at Blue Grass Army Depot in Madison County, where the vessel will be installed in a plant that will destroy chemical weapons.

While in Lexington, the truck had a police escort. Vehicles were not allowed to pass the truck, which required two lanes and did not have to stop for traffic lights.

On its last leg of a multistate journey, the truck left Russellville in southwestern Kentucky about 8 a.m. Monday, said Stephanie Parrett, a spokeswoman for Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives, the Defense Department agency responsible for the destruction of mustard and nerve agent stockpiles in Kentucky and Colorado.

The tractor-trailer had to negotiate a turn in Russellville that took one to two hours to complete, Parrett said.

The convoy slowly entered Lexington on U.S. 60 from Blue Grass Parkway. Once on Man o' War Boulevard, the truck traveled to the Hamburg area to exit 108 on Interstate 75.

After the tractor-trailer got on I-75, other vehicles could pass in the far left lane of the three-lane highway. While the rig traveled only 5 to 10 mph on state roads, it could go 35 to 40 mph on Blue Grass Parkway or interstates.

From Lexington, the truck traveled south to Richmond, where it took the Eastern Bypass to Ky. 52.

The route the rig traveled Monday used roads outlined by the state Transportation Cabinet, Parrett said. Each state dictated where and when the rig traveled, she said.

The vessel left Idaho in mid-January for the 1,800-mile trip to Richmond, traveling through Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri and Tennessee.

When installed at the weapons-destruction plant, the vessel, made of high-grade carbon steel that is 2 inches thick, will house inert nitrogen gas.

Herald-Leader staff writer Karla Ward contributed to this report. Greg Kocher: (859) 231-3305. Twitter: @HLpublicsafety

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