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Follow the bouncing steel coil

April 8, 2013 - Paul Giannamore
The move of the big tank from the Ohio River to Hopedale via Route 22 -- and Wintersville -- on Sunday brought to mind something most of us haven’t thought about in a long time. When was the last time you heard or read the words “steel coil came loose from a tractor-trailer” usually in connection with an auto accident story in our area? Been a long time, I’d bet. And, while the roads of the region are filled with all kinds of strange trucks in support of the gas and oil industry now, there was a time when it was impossible to drive anywhere without seeing big steel coils held in place by chains and straps on flatbed semis. Usually they were in front of you, going uphill on a two-lane highway or city street, making your drive for lunch all that much longer. Generally, the coils from area mills seemed to break free from their trailer moorings every four to six weeks, bouncing down the road and uncoiling, making a steely mess and potentially flattening any vehicle that got in their way. It kept young reporters busy and tow truck operators in the gravy. When I was a young firetruck chasing, camera-weilding newspaper guy, I went to one of those wrecks on Sunset, right in front of the West End Fire Station. It was the mid to late 80s. A coil had come loose, rolled across the intersection of John Scott and Sunset (the connector wasn’t there yet) and flattened the front of a Chevette. Fortunately, if memory serves me right,the driver was OK. Which meant the world was, thankfully, free of one Chevette. I’m not sure there’s anyone who owned a Chevette who wouldn’t have sacrificed the little wheeled box to a bouncing steel coil. It’s harder, to be sure, for the stuff of the drilling and gas processing industry to just come rolling loose and bouncing down Sunset. Which really means nothing beyond the world being safe for Chevettes. If there actually are still any.


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