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WATKINS GLEN—Traffic was obstructed in Watkins Glen for nearly two hours, Friday, March 1, as workers transported a 120,000 pound boiler down Steuben and Fourth Streets to Cargill Salt.
Watkins Glen Cargill plant Manager Don Chutas explained the Babcock and Wilcox natural gas powered boiler traveled from Mississippi, predominantly by railroad. He said this new equipment will replace the two existing, coal fired boilers at Cargill. Chutas said the new boiler should be installed and operational by summer and the old machines will be shut down by mid-summer. Boilers are used in the production of salt. The 19 foot high natural gas boiler traveled by Norfolk Southern Railway. Chutas explained the machinery couldn't be transported by rail the entire way to the plant at 518 E. Fourth St. because of its size. He said with the boiler, the railcar was too tall to go through an underpass in Himrod, Yates County. Instead, the the train was able to arrive near the north entrance of the Watkins Glen State Park. Chutas said the boiler was welded to the railcar and had to be removed. Around 11 a.m. on Friday, the boiler was driven down Route 409/Steuben Street and continued on through Fourth Street to Cargill with a New York State Police escort. The trailer carrying the boiler had nine axles, and four tires per axle. The 1.8 mile trip took nearly two hours. Because of the boiler's height, workers had to hold up several electrical and telephone wires as the truck passed underneath. The village alerted residents to the transport via the electronic CodeRED announcement system. To accommodate the new boiler, Chutas said New York State Electric and Gas is installing a natural gas pipeline into the Cargill plant. He added it should help with emissions. "I think people will be happy not to have coal trucks drive through the town," said Chutas about the switch to the natural gas powered boiler. He added, "it's a big improvement to the plant."