Locally built oil rigs bound for Alaska

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After two years of construction, the delivery process began Wednesday for two giant oil rigs destined for Alaska’s North Slope. The rigs, which weigh 4.5 million pounds and stand 200 feet tall when fully extended, were fabricated at the Columbia Business Center just upstream of Beaches Restaurant by Thompson Metal Fab. The contract was valued at $200 million and employed 300 people. The customer is Parker Drilling of Houston. The sight of the large rigs on the move, pictured here after being loaded on the barge earlier this week, attracted onlookers as they squeezed underneath the Interstate 5 Bridge and through the BNSF Railway bridge. The I-5 bridge was raised for an extended time about 9 a.m. as the load passed.