MTU Detroit Diesel Powers Hurricane Evacuations in Florida
In light of the last few years’ busy and disastrous hurricane seasons, many Gulf Coast states were looking hard for ways to improve evacuation procedures and assist recovery teams in the wake of these powerful storms.Florida was one such state. Dependable power is vital in any emergency, as the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) well knows. On May 12, of last year the agency held a ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the grand opening of its new fuel supply hubs throughout the state. This chain of fuel supply hubs was the highlight of a $7 million project instituted by FDOT to expedite the evacuation of Florida residents in the event of hurricanes or other emergencies.
FDOT’s commitment to disaster readiness was bolstered by the dependable presence of 11 MTU Detroit Diesel 1,000 kW gen-sets. These gen-sets would be responsible for providing emergency power to evacuation hubs strategically located on the Florida Turnpike. The additional power would be used for backing up reserves of more than 30 million gallons of fuel for disaster-evacuation and response teams, as well as food supplies, support lights, water and sewage services and limited shelter and gas station services for misplaced persons.
MTU Detroit Diesel distributor Florida Detroit Diesel-Allison, based in Orlando, Florida, supplied FDOT with the 11 gen-sets, handled all aspects of their installation and continues to maintain and service the units. The ribbon-cutting ceremony, held at the FDOT supply hub at the Turkey Lake Service Plaza, was hosted by Florida Turnpike Deputy Executive Director Chris Warren and included principals from Florida Detroit Diesel-Allison. Don Mann, FDDA’s Vice President of Operations, formally presented Mr. Warren and FDOT Turnpike Executive Director James Ely with the final 1,000 kW gen-set. Mr. Warren then started the gen set in front of guests and national press members, including reporters from ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox News.
“We are pleased to announce that the entire emergency power resource system on the Turnpike mainline has been upgraded to include 11 new, one thousand watt generators at the headquarters, law enforcement, operations and service plaza complexes,” said Mr. Ely. Generators were previously in place at the Turnpike’s eight service plazas, but were only capable of providing 200 kW of power for limited time periods and were never intended to be functional during a catastrophic, extended power grid failure. The need for additional power became clear to Turnpike officials in the aftermath of Hurricane Wilma. In the course of the evacuation process, the Turnpike’s eight service stations pumped more than 2.6 million gallons of fuel immediately before and after the storm struck. Now, Warren says, FDOT is determined to streamline those evacuation procedures even more and committed more than $7.5 million of state and federal money to do so. After months of working to determine how much power would be needed to keep the Turnpike open following a hurricane, FDOT placed the order for 11, custom-built, 1,000 kW MTU Detroit Diesel gen-sets with 2,500 gallons of fuel capacity. The manufacturing process took six months. The generators were delivered in April of last year and all units are still running smoothly and fully operational today.
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