Editor's Note: Interact with our map above to see street closure times and detours for the overnight transport. The multicolored lines represent the transport path and rolling street closures while the dark brown line represents detours around the drums.
The transportation of six giant steel coke drums from the Redondo Beach Marina to Chevron's El Segundo oil refinery will cause temporary overnight road closures in all three beach cities beginning next week.
The drums, measuring 100 feet long and weighing 500,000 pounds each will be transported in pairs up Pacific Coast Highway/Sepulveda Boulevard between 10 p.m. Wednesday nights and 5 a.m. Thursday mornings for the next three weeks.
Although the drums may not appear as majestic as a space shuttle, their transport is an engineering process that is being compared by Chevron officials to the transport of the Space Shuttle Endeavour through Los Angeles streets last October.
Similar to Endeavour's journey, the coke drums will travel the route on specialized 128-wheeled trailers designed for extremely large loads. The sheer size of the drums will require power lines to be raised, utility poles to be relocated and traffic lights to be rotated to accommodate the bulk of the drums.
According to Jeff Wilson, a senior policy, government and public affairs representative for Chevron, the lessons learned from the space shuttle's journey and the movement of the LACMA boulder were used to help plan the coke drum transport.
"All of this is a very orchestrated ballet that we have been working very diligently on," Wilson said. "A lot of lessons were learned from the space shuttle and rock movement and it is to our great benefit that those two activities just took place."
On Mondays, prior to their final 4.5-mile transport up Pacific Coast Highway, the drums will be offloaded from a barge onto Mole B next to Moonstone Park in Redondo Beach's King Harbor. From there, the drums will be moved to a staging area under the power lines near the intersection of Herondo and Pacific Coast Highway where they will be transferred onto their Caltrans-approved transport dollys.
Wilson said the oil company has been working with local governments, Caltrans, Southern California Edison and the California Highway Patrol to minimize the impact of the transport on residents.
"We have developed a very detailed traffic plan and safety plan," Wilson said during Tuesday's Hermosa Beach City Council meeting. "All of the agencies have been very collaborative and aligned to ensure we have a good plan in place."
Wilson said that at no point will the transport of the drums affect emergency services and added that Chevron worked with Southern California Edison ensure customers do not lose power due to the movement of utility lines.
Chevron said that all costs incurred by the beach cities in the movement of the drums will be reimbursed by the company. In addition, the company agreed to provide funding to upgrade existing utilities along the route and provide funds for future infrastructure support in each city.
In Hermosa Beach alone, the costs to Chevron equate to more than $800,000, according to city documents. Chevron will pay Redondo Beach more than $1 million, much of it going to implement the Mole B Master Plan.
According to Chevron, the new coke drums are needed to replace aging drums that were originally installed in 1968 at the El Segundo refinery. The drums make up what is known as a coker unit, an important piece of equipment used in producing fuel.
Built in Spain, the drums have already made a 7,330-mile journey aboard a specialized cargo ship to the Port of Los Angeles via the Panama Canal.
Once the drums arrive at the refinery, it will still take another feat of engineering to install them using one of the world's largest cranes. It is an elaborate process not lost on Wilson or Chevron.
"The drums are not small," Wilson said. "You can see from start to finish, it is quite the engineering exercise."
For more information on the project, visit Chevron's website at www.cokedrumproject.com and check back with Patch during the transport for updated information, photos and videos.
Coke Drum Transport Timeline (Late Wednesday/Early Thursday):
- 10:00 p.m. | Road closure on Herondo at the beginning of route to rotate street lights.
- 11:15 p.m. | First drum begins rolling onto Pacific Coast Highway at Herondo Street at the Redondo Beach/Hermosa Beach border.
- 11:30 p.m. | Second drum begins rolling onto Pacific Coast Highway at the same location as the first drum.
- 12:00 a.m. | Drums reach intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and Aviation Boulevard.
- 1:00 a.m. | Drums reach intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and Manhattan Beach Boulevard.
- 2:00 a.m. | Drums turn west from Pacific Coast Highway onto Rosecrans Avenue.
- 2:45 a.m. | First drum enters the Chevron refinery at intersection of Pacific Avenue and Rosecrans Avenue.
- 3:15 a.m. | Second drum enters Chevron refinery at same location as first drum.
- 5:00 a.m. | Any closed roads reopen to traffic by 5 a.m at the latest.