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In Pictures: Widest load on British roads?

A massive section of a new furnace for an oil refinery crept down the M53 on Saturday night.

Part of the M53 in Cheshire was closed on Saturday night to accommodate what is thought to be one of the biggest objects to be moved on a UK road.

At 26.5 metres long and five times higher than a double decker bus, the piece of machinery could only travel at walking pace along three miles of the motorway.

The structure is part of a £45 million furnace that is being installed at Essar’s Stanlow oil refinery and will be the first capable of running entirely on hydrogen.

It was built 6,000 miles away in Thailand and carried by ship to the Port of Liverpool before being transferred to a barge for the short trip across the River Mersey, through the locks into the Manchester Ship Canal and on to a holding bay near National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port.

Gordon Beattie, National Highways’ abnormal loads manager for the North West, said: “There are abnormal loads and there are abnormal loads – and this one will completely fill the motorway.

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“The module will be mounted on two wheeled platforms – one on each carriageway – and will look a bit like the bridge of a container ship gliding down the motorway.”

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