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Big cargo inches through Winton

WINTON – With steel giant Nucor situated near its backyard, the town of Winton sees its fair share of truck traffic each and every day.

From 18-wheelers loaded down with steel plate to inbound trucks bearing materials to keep the multi-million-dollar industry operating at its peak, Winton residents as well as passers-by don’t even bat an eyelash at the heavy-duty traffic rolling through this tiny down.

However, a sunny and cold Monday morning was different…much different.

Maneuvering sharp turns with precision, a driver with L&M Transport of Louisiana slowly inched his way through downtown Winton. His cargo was a huge, 58-foot air tank bound for Air Liquide, a firm that supplies oxygen for Nucor to manufacture its steel plate.

According to Lance Holloway of Air Liquide, the tank was transported from Pittsburgh, Pa. Another tank, this one a 55-footer, was also brought to the Air Liquide site.

Holloway said the two tanks will give them a combined 160,000 pounds of added oxygen to supply to Nucor.

The two trucks were not allowed to travel on I-95 during the weekend. Holloway said they made it to the Virginia-North Carolina line on Friday and parked the rigs on Saturday and Sunday.

At daybreak on Monday, the trucks began to finish their journey, traveling south on I-95 before turning east on US 158. They made their way through Weldon, Jackson, Conway and Murfreesboro before maneuvering the tight turns in Winton onto NC 45 South.

In Winton, two men hopped out of the escort vehicles traveling with the trucks and walked in front of the rig, using long poles to lift up the town’s Christmas lights strung across Main Street. The truck slowly inched under those lights.