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A ‘roundabout’ way for lorry to get to Tandragee

The transformer makes its way towards the roundabout.

The transformer makes its way towards the roundabout.

It’s an unlikely tale of a transformer, a transporter – and a rather roundabout journey to Tandragee.

The problem was that the giant load – with two heavy lorries delivering the vital piece of electrical equipment to the power station at Tandragee – was much too wide and much too long to negotiate the roundabout on the main Portadown Road at Ballylisk. One lorry pulled it, the other pushed it…

It was solved it in a roundabout sort of way. The workers removed half the roundabout. It was the only current solution, to coin an electrical phrase.

The workers powered their way through tons of soil and much brickwork and concrete, and the atmosphere was, well, electric, as the roundabout was converted into a semi-circle, perhaps the strangest traffic aid in the history of local road travel.

And they had it back in shape – good as new – re-building the roundabout in double-quick time, after it had been ‘halved’ to make way for the transformer.

It meant that Sunday traffic on the main Portadown-Tandragee was disrupted for most of the morning, but all was normal by lunchtime.

But that was just a fraction of the journey as the 170 tonnes (60 metres long) load made its way from Warrenpoint docks to Tandragee.

It was taken from the ship by two 100-tonne cranes and driven to its destination via Newry, Armagh and Portadown (avoiding low bridges).

And in the two cities (Newry and Armagh) traffic lights had to be dismantled to make way.

It left ‘The Point’ circa 5.30am and was safely in place at Tandragee at 11.30am. The drivers of the heavy lorries made light work of the unique alternative route.

The DoE was in charge of the route, the PSNI assured its safe passage and an English haulier delivered the goods.

And we’re indebted to former Portadown Times man Billy Austin for supplying the excellent picture at Ballylisk.

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