By Sarah Stephens
Features reporter 

Cheney firm delivers Capitol Christmas tree


Last updated 11/24/2021 at 5:22pm

The Joy Trip Project

System Transport semi hauling tree down the interstate

CHENEY - A local company has successfully delivered the national Christmas tree to Joint Base Andrews in Andrews, Md., near the Capitol.

The 84-foot tree, harvested in Northern California, was delivered by Systems Transport last week.

"The tree presented a lot of logistical challenges," according to System Transport spokesman Chad Reiling. "The rig was double the length of a standard flatbed trailer and had to go around some very windy roads and steep grades."

The company traveled through California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland.

A specialized tractor, a T680, and specialized drivers were brought in to get the tree to the Capitol, Reiling said.

"The biggest challenge was of course, the size," he said. "It's 105 feet from tip to tail. So, like I said, it is almost double the length of a standard flatbed."

Two cranes will be used to hoist the tree and decorate it with 10,000 ornaments, before Speak of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, turns it on.

The tree lighting and decorating ceremony will be aired online, Reiling said.

Reiling credited Chief Operations Officer Rob Heskette for handling much of the logistical work ahead of time.

Multiple stops happened along the 4,000-mile journey, including stops for parties and tree watering, he said. At every stop, the tree received a 100-gallon fresh-water injection into a bladder around the trunk.

The logistics included location evaluation and cooperative efforts of law enforcement and the U.S. Forest Service.

"It meant a lot to us to be selected," Reiling said. "It is really a huge honor to bring the Christmas spirit to the Capitol.

"It's a big deal."


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