A HUGE 450 tonne generator head was driven along the M53 in Ellesmere Port on Sunday as part of a £23m revamp.

The motorway was closed in both directions between Ellesmere Port Docks at Junction 8 and Little Stanney at Junction 10 until 11am.

Essar Oil (UK) Ltd delivered the massive steel structure to the Stanlow Refinery for a key petrol-producing unit as part of a refurbishment project.

The generator head will form part of a residue catalytic cracking unit – the largest of its kind in Europe.

It formed the biggest load seen on the motorway for more than 25 years as it made the four-mile journey from Ellesmere Port Docks in just over six hours on Sunday morning.

The residue catalytic cracking unit, which is vital to Stanlow’s annual production of three billion litres of petrol, is being prepared for a major refurbishment later this year, of which the replacement of the giant head is a key element.

It will give the refinery unit another 25 years of life.

Volker Schultz, chief executive officer of Essar Oil (UK) Ltd, said: “The project represents a significant multi-million-pound investment and is further proof of our determination to ensure Essar Oil UK is sustainably profitable and growing moving forward.

“The Stanlow refinery is a major economic driver in the region and this is a clear demonstration of our confidence in its future growth.”