Traffic around the Saint John area was held up Sunday morning as the first of two massive turbines started its slow creep towards the Point Lepreau nuclear generating station.

A 130 tonne turbine rotor secured to a 60 metre tractor-trailer — the longest allowed in New Brunswick — started its trip around 7 a.m., travelling in the wrong lane for part of the journey.

Lepreau turbine

This rotor had to be driven by a 60-metre truck to Point Lepreau. (Matt Bingley/CBC)

It took a year to get all the permits lined up for the trip. The turbines arrived in port in August.

This voyage wouldn't have been necessary if two turbines hadn’t plunged into the Saint John harbour in 2008. Although the dunked turbines were salvaged and are currently in use, officials feared they would not be able to perform for the full 27-year life of the refurbished nuclear plant and should be replaced.

People lined the streets —  some sipping coffee, others taking photos —  to watch the turbine roll down Highway 1.

The second turbine rotor, scheduled to be moved on Jan. 26, weather permitting, is expected to cause similar interruptions.