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Giant transformers to slow traffic in Harford County

Traffic in parts of Harford County will be slowed this week by 1.3 million pounds of electrical equipment winding its way to Pennsylvania at a speed of five miles per hour.

A pair of plus-sized transformers — they weigh 335 tons apiece when on their oversized transport vehicles — will start Monday in Havre de Grace and leave the state Thursday night on its way to Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station in Delta, Pa.

This is the third summer for such a trip. Peach Bottom brought one transformer through Maryland in 2009, three in 2010 and expects to bring another through next summer.

Maryland’s State Highway Administration warned drivers on Friday to avoid the route to be taken by the transformers.

Maryland State Police will stop all northbound and southbound traffic on Interstate 95 to allow the transport vehicles to cross from one side to the other between 11:30 p.m. Monday and midnight, according to SHA.

The left lanes of both sides of 95 near the Route 155 interchange will be closed 10 p.m. Monday to 5 a.m. Tuesday, as will 155 east of the interstate in Havre de Grace.

Deer Creek Bridge on Maryland Route 136 will be closed early Tuesday morning to 5 p.m. Wednesday, and the Broad Creek Bridge on that road will be shut to traffic from 6 a.m. Wednesday to 5 p.m. Thursday.

The moves are part of an $87 million project that will replace all six transformers and keep a spare on site at the Delta plant. The plant is owned by Exelon Corp., the suitor of Baltimore’s Constellation Energy Group Inc.

Transformers take the energy produced at the plant and step up the voltage to allow it to be transported over long distances.

Peach Bottom’s transformers are first shipped from South Korea to Philadelphia, then transported by barge to the quarry outside of Havre de Grace, which offers the deep-water offloading location closest to the plant, according to plant spokesman David Tillman.

“The cargo is so heavy that it needs a large body of water and clear access so the trailers can get down to the cargo itself,” he said. “We’re blocked here with the Conowingo Dam so we can’t bring them all the way up by water, and the Havre de Grace quarry is the best access we have.”

Tillman said the transformer expected to arrive next summer will likely take the same route through Maryland.