The Idaho Transportation Department just announced that it has issued permits today for the first four mega-loads proposed for U.S. Highway 12 in north-central Idaho, the four proposed by Conoco-Phillips, but is suspending the shipments until after a hearing officer rules on a petition for intervention and hearings by residents and businesses along the route. Click below to read ITD's full news release.
Yesterday at 5 p.m., ConocoPhillips filed a legal brief with ITD arguing against allowing anyone to intervene in the case and in favor of letting it go ahead with the shipments. The four giant loads of oil refinery equipment already are at the Port of Lewiston, and rumors have been hot and heavy that they'll be moving soon. You can read Conoco's brief here.
Conoco spokesman John Roper said it's true that the loads have been being readied for transport. "We did get some stuff prepped" as a "prudent business decision," he said. "If we can get 'em rolling, we want to."
The previous permits ITD issued for the four Conoco mega-loads were only good for five days; ITD spokesman Jeff Stratten wasn't sure how long the new permits issued today will be valid, given the suspension.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Idaho Transportation Department issues permits for over-size loads on U.S. 12; suspends shipments
BOISE - The Idaho Transportation Department issued permits Wednesday for over-sized loads to travel from Lewiston to the Montana border on U.S. 12, but the shipments will be suspended until after a hearing officer rules whether an intervention into the process is warranted by interested parties.
ITD Director Brian W. Ness will appoint an independent third-party hearing officer to conduct the administrative process. The department uses hearing officers to settle a variety of administrative claims ranging from drivers license suspensions and bidding, to construction and highway access claims.
No timeframe has been established for a ruling.
The permits were issued to Emmert International, the contract hauler for ConocoPhillips. ITD's Motor Vehicle Administrator Alan Frew said the loads meet the state's legal requirements for an over-legal permit. In the judgment of ITD's professional staff, Frew said, the loads can be transported safely, without risk to the highways and bridges, with minimal delay to traffic and without disruption to emergency services.