Eye On Boise

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 27, 2011, 8:41 A.M.

Of power outages and tree-trimming…

Results of tree-trimming to accommodate megaloads on U.S. Highway 12 (Courtesy photo / Idaho Rivers United)
Results of tree-trimming to accommodate megaloads on U.S. Highway 12 (Courtesy photo / Idaho Rivers United)

Asked about the incident in which the ExxonMobil "test module" for its megaloads transport knocked out power to two Idaho towns, ITD District 2 maintenance engineer Doral Hoff said the load immediately was pulled over at a nearby turnout and the road was closed. "We sat there for, I want to say, 40 minutes, 50 minutes, with the road blocked, until we could get confirmation that we could actually move traffic through there safely without anybody getting harmed," Hoff said. "They had told us that the whole route was clear for this height of load. We asked them to provide a report."

During the two-week delay that followed that incident, extensive tree-trimming also was conducted along the route, Hoff said. It was done by a tree-trimming service, Asplundh, that was a subcontractor to Imperial Oil. "The trees have been partially trimmed," Hoff said. "What that means is Asplundh has gone through and trimmed the trees such that they would allow for the ... test module to go through without damaging, breaking limbs, branches as they move through. From a couple of pictures I've seen that has left the trees looking not quite aesthetically pleasing. All along, we've been working with the Forest Service. ... We've got a good relationship with them. They wanted to be assured that we would come back and trim up the trees so that they would look aesthetcially pleasing for that route." Hoff said he doesn't know when that will happen. The first round of tree-trimming concluded April 24, he said.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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