Kamloops, British Columbia

The "Turtle Tap Dance"


A Canadian Oil Company was adding ethanol storage to its storage terminal. They had two tanks available to use, but the tanks needed to be near each other. The option of building a new 43 ft diameter x 40ft high tank was expensive with a long lead time. Moving one tank through narrow roads and obstacles was almost ruled out, but they called MTS to make sure.  We surveyed for clearances and there was just enough width to move the tank if it could be carried at 6ft high, partially on the road and partially overhanging the concrete dyke walls and pipe runs.  MTS was confident that this move would be  possible, safe and interesting.  

Our ‘Turtle Tap Dance’ slide show gives a time lapse of the move. We began with a 2 ft.lift and rotation of the tank on the turtles, which can be aligned to steer or rotate the tank in any direction. Then the tank needed to be elevated 4 more feet to cross the temporary bridges over the dyke, and partially on to the narrow road. Then we turned north and traveled until a sharp East turn was needed to avoid a building. 

Many different configurations of blocking were used to navigate the obstacles along the way. To the younger men on the crew, it was like building with Lego blocks. These obstacles can be seen in the photos.  The final leg of the move was north again, tip-toeing slowly (turtle style) across two dykes with live pipelines across our path.  The turtle moving method is inherently very safe because the turtles and cribs provide safety blocking while the tank is being jacked, and then the tank rests on solid support on every horizontal move cycle. 

Resting the turtles at 30” above the new concrete pad, we rotated the tank to within a few millimeters of alignment with the proposed piping connection. The turtles were removed, and the tank lowered to its final spot.   The tank internal support work, equipment placement and moving time was 14 days on site.  A similar move with turtles along open ground and no obstacles would only take about 4 days.  All parties were pleased with the safety and success of the move.

Kamloops move path.jpg