Traveling in the dark of night, Chevron's two steel coke drums left Redondo Beach late Wednesday and pulled into the entrance of the company's El Segundo refinery by 2:30 a.m. Thursday. Weighing 500,000 pounds each, the drums were shipped by barge from the Port of Los Angeles to King Harbor.

"Everything went as scheduled," a Chevron spokesman said.

The complicated transport - which will be repeated twice in the coming weeks, with six drums in all making their way to the refinery - required quite a bit of planning and engineering.

People exit the bars along Sepulveda Blvd. in Hermosa Beach to view the giant coke drums moving by on their way to the Chevron refinery in El Segundo.
People exit the bars along Sepulveda Blvd. in Hermosa Beach to view the giant coke drums moving by on their way to the Chevron refinery in El Segundo. (Steve McCrank / Staff Photographer)
Chevron tapped Plump Engineering, the same firm involved in moving the space shuttle Endeavour from Los Angeles International Airport to the California Science Center and the 340-ton rock displayed in "Levitated Mass" at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Rolling road closures were put in place for Pacific Coast Highway and Sepulveda Boulevard, street trees along the route were trimmed, and Southern California Edison crews moved traffic signals to allow for the large equipment to pass beneath.

The drums eventually will be used in the refinery's coker unit, replacing models dating to 1968.

- Kristin S. Agostoni