Why are the Wheelbases of Alaskan Trucks so long?

Someone asked a question on Facebook about why the wheelbases of big rigs in Alaska are so long.  Jack says they are so long in order to fit extra long loads.

Here is a photo of the long wheelbase being utilized:

Down in the states, the wheelbase would be much shorter on most trucks.  In other words, the wheels would be much closer to the body of the truck and this sized pipe would result in more rear overhang, thus needing more permits and a more complicated set up.  So to avoid that, the wheelbase has been lengthened, since these kinds of loads are commonplace in Alaska.

Since Jack has a long wheel base he can haul another trailer behind this one, as seen here:

This is the second trailer – it has a load of sheet pile (sheets of metal that are driven into the ground and used for road construction or for bridge construction).

(In the first photo you can see part of the second trailer but it’s hard to make out because there is another trailer of pipe behind it.  In the second photo I erased the pipe behind so you can see the load on the second trailer better.)

Here are a few more photos of the Salcha-Valdez pipe haul.

The last piece of pipe being loaded!

Jack is so happy to be on his LAST VALDEZ RUN so he can get back on the Dalton!!

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Still Hauling Pipe

Here are some photos of the job Jack is presently working on, hauling huge pipe sections from the port of Valdez to Salcha where there is a railroad bridge being built across the Tanana River.

Empty trailers, waiting for the pipe.

This is a photo from an earlier post:  the trucks loaded with 2 lengths of pipe each, and more pipe in the background that still needed to be loaded and hauled to Salcha.  Each section is 6 feet in diameter and 43 feet long.  That stack has been transported by now but more has arrived from other barges.

Eight inch wood dunnage cradling the pipe.  It gives space for the forks to pick it up and set it down, and the pipe chalks (upper wood pieces) stop it from rolling until they get it tied down.  Each piece of pipe is 25,000 pounds.

The trucks have to stop at quite a few roadwork sites along the Richardson Highway.  This is in the canyon just north of Valdez.

A couple of days ago Jack was held up at some roadwork for almost 2 hours.  Since the Richardson is one of only a couple of major highways in Alaska, there  must have been a line of ticked-off tourists 10 miles long!

Anyone interested in more information about this bridge project can go to this link:  State of Alaska webpage.

Hauling Pipe from Valdez to Salcha

This month Jack has been hauling huge pipe sections to Salcha, a small community about 35 miles from Fairbanks.  The State of Alaska is building a railroad bridge across the Tanana River in Salcha and these pieces are probably going to be standing supports with concrete poured inside.  Each driver manages to haul two sections a day, you can see them loaded here.  In back of the trucks and in front of the shipping containers there are stacks of more pipe that need to be hauled to Salcha, so Jack won’t be off this project for a while to come.  Yes, work means a paycheck, but ending up with one a a half days off a week is hard when you’ve got a home you want to take care of, and knowing there are only 3 months of summer in Fairbanks.


We’ll post more about this trip soon, so stay tuned and click “follow” if you are interested in getting an email each time a post is made here.