Oversize load to pass through Maricopa Tuesday morning

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A Space X first-stage rocket will come through town early Tuesday morning, possibly creating traffic issues as the 185-foot long load moves through town. ADOT expects the wide load to come through town in the very early morning hours to minimize the traffic impact. (Google maps)

EZE Trucking of Rialto, Calif., doing business as Rig Runner, will be moving an oversize load through the area very early Monday and Tuesday mornings, June 27-28.

TAccording to EZE Trucking, the cargo is a first-stage rocket component for a flight to be launched by Space X, the space exploration company founded by Elon Musk, the world’s richest man.

The load coming through town will be a massive 185 feet long, the equivalent of an 18-story building, and 14 feet, 6 inches wide. At 16 feet tall, it has a gross vehicle weight of 236,651 pounds or 118.3 tons. It will arrive at milepost 42 on State Route 238 at about 3 a.m. Monday morning, June 27 via Interstate 8 and State Route 85. It will stay there until it departs at 2 a.m. Tuesday, June 28, before moving through Maricopa on its way to the New Mexico border.

The route has been surveyed at 16 feet, 6 inches, providing just enough clearance for the load to pass without having to lift traffic signals.

The large load is extremely slow-moving and requires a minimum of two Department of Public Safety patrol officer escorts, with four officers required for navigation through the cities of Maricopa and Casa Grande.

The load will begin its journey through Arizona at the California/Arizona state line on I-8 eastbound. It will exit at Pima Street in Gila Bend and continue through Gila Bend on the business route to SR 85 north, where it will turn north and continue until it reaches SR 238.

At 2 a.m. Tuesday, the convoy will move eastbound on SR 238, then turn south on SR 347 through Maricopa. The Arizona Department of Public Safety will provide access to the westbound lanes of SR 238 so the vehicle can make the turn onto SR 347. It also will use the northbound side of SR 347/John Wayne Parkway until it can shift back to the right side of the road at the first available traffic signal.

The rocket will stay on SR 347 moving south, then go under the John Wayne Parkway overpass on North Maricopa Road and turn east onto Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway. At that point it will continue to Casa Grande, then eventually merge onto I-10 en route to the New Mexico state line.

First-stage rockets are ignited at launch and burn through the rocket’s ascent until their fuel is gone. The rocket is then extinguished and separates from the second stage, which ignites, propelling the vehicle into outer space. The payload is carried atop the second stage into orbit while the first stage lands on a drone ship platform and is later reused.

Editor’s Note: This article was updated to correct a mistake about the landing of the first stage rockets.