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8-million pound generator leaves Coeymans for NJ

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    The barge tooted its horn to greet crowds as it began its journey down the Hudson River from the Port of Coeymans toward New Jersey.
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    A couple watches from the pier at Coeymans Landing as the barge bearing an 8-million pound generator begins its journey Monday morning.
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    A crowd gathered at Coeymans Landing to watch the start of the historic journey.
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    Melanie Lekocevic/Columbia-Greene Media A barge carrying an 8-million pound generator from the Port of Coeymans to Sewaren, New Jersey.
August 8, 2017 11:02 am Updated: August 8, 2017 11:07 am

COEYMANS – Dozens turned out at Coeymans Landing to watch the 8-million pound generator built at the Port of Coeymans as it made its way down the Hudson River on its way to Sewaren, New Jersey, on Monday.

“I just wanted to see this amazing structure float down the river,” said Earl LaMay as he waited for the barge to leave the port. “I have never seen anything like this before.”

The $195 million Heat Recovery Steam Generator, known as a HRSG, was being transported to a power plant built by PSEG in New Jersey. It is the largest structure of its kind to be built offsite in the U.S. and transported to another location, according to Port of Coeymans General Manager Richard Robinson.

The 4,000-ton generator was assembled at the port by Durr Mechanical/Megrant Joint Venture, which began work in November, and was moved onto a barge last week with the help of 138 hydraulic axles.

The barge, a Marmac 400, was pretty sizable itself – 100-feet wide and 400-feet long. The generator was welded onto the deck of the barge and then the massive structure was towed down the river by tug boats.

Local residents lined Coeymans Landing on Monday to watch.

“I want to see the barge go down the river,” said Jess Beals, who brought her son Jacob to see the sight as well. “The logistics behind moving such a large turbine are interesting to see.”

Jacob Beals, 10, waited expectantly for the barge to leave the port.

“It’s interesting to see it going on the water since it’s so big,” Jacob said. “I don’t know how it’s going to be able to move across the water.”

The tug boats pulled the barge from one end and pushed from behind to move the vessel, carrying its enormous load.

Julie Elson said she was glad to be able to watch a historic transport of this size.

“I love everything about the river, and this is so exciting – to see something so huge go down the river,” Elson said. “I like the fact that it is a working river.”

As the barge moved across the water, people at Coeymans Landing waved and cheered them on. In response, the barge’s operator “honked” back.

“We are here to show our respect and honor as this goes past our town,” Ginny Pearson said as she waited for the barge to begin its trip. “It’s the largest that has ever been built offsite and then transported, so it is an experience to behold.”

The first bridge the barge was set to travel under was the Rip Van Winkle Bridge in Catskill, with clearance of 145 feet. The barge and generator were 126-feet tall. The Mid Hudson Bridge was a tighter fit, according to Robinson, at 135 feet of clearance – with just nine feet to spare.

Once the barge arrives at its destination, a power plant in Sewaren, New Jersey, it will be cut from its lashing and moved off the bow of the barge, again on hydraulic axles.

The generator was one component of an even larger project, with other units also built at the Port of Coeymans and later transported to New Jersey down the river. Twenty air cooled condensers – weighing between 210,000 and 420,000 pounds each – were also assembled at the port and are being sent to the same power plant.

The first set of condensers was transported in June; the next set is scheduled to be moved on Thursday, with the final set about a week later.