Roads: Warning As Abnormal Load Travels Through The Thames Valley

15 November 2013, 10:38 | Updated: 15 November 2013, 10:42

One of the biggest abnormal loads ever transported on the roads will be trundling across the Thames Valley this weekend - at an average speed of 4mph

The giant transformer, measuring almost 330ft long and weighing around 640 tonnes, will travel the 80 miles between Didcot in Oxfordshire and Avonmouth in Bristol. 

Police warn the trip will affect roads in Wiltshire, Bath and north-east Somerset and south Gloucestershire between 7pm on Friday and 6pm on Sunday. 

A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police said: 

'Allelys Heavy Haulage of Studley is transporting transformers from Didcot power station to Avonmouth Docks. The load will take up two lanes on motorways and both lanes of single carriageway stretches of road. 

'The loads are almost 100m long and 5m wide, weigh around 640 tonnes and will travel at an average 4mph - walking pace - and even more slowly on uphill stretches.' 

The load is expected to leave Didcot at 7pm on Friday, taking up both lanes of the southbound A34 from Didcot to the M4 junction 13 at Chieveley, where it will lay up overnight. 

On Saturday, the load will depart Chieveley at around 9am before leaving the M4 at junction 18 Tormarton, as it is too heavy for the motorway at junction 19. 

It will travel along the A46 to the A420, arriving at the Tog Hill parking area at around 6pm for an overnight stop. 

On Sunday, the transformer will undergo a series of safety checks before leaving the Tog Hill parking area at about 9am. 

It will be escorted along the A420 and is expected to arrive at Wick by 11am. When it reaches the village, there will be a delay as steel plates are laid on the road where it passes over two culverts. 

The route then takes the load to the A4174. When it reaches the Bromley Heath roundabout, the road will be closed from there to the M32 junction so the load can travel on the wrong side of the dual carriageway to avoid a weak bridge. 

At the junction with Bristol Road, the load will return to the correct carriageway and continue on to the M32, rejoining the M4 before taking the M5 to Avonmouth. 

It is expected to reach Avonmouth Docks by 6pm. The trip is the second of three carried out by Allelys Heavy Haulage. 

The first transformer was moved over the weekend of November 2 and 3.