ITD has issued two more permits for modified megaloads to travel from Lewiston up through Moscow to Coeur d'Alene, then take I-90 to Montana and Canada. The two permits, issued Thursday, allow for travel beginning Saturday night for one load, and Sunday night for the other. Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil has been cutting down the giant loads of Korean-made oil equipment at the Port of Lewiston to allow them to be transported by a freeway route, while awaiting the outcome of permitting fights in both Idaho and Montana over its proposal to send more than 200 of the loads over scenic U.S. Highway 12. Click below for a full report from reporter Brandon Macz in today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News.
ITD OKs overlegal Exxon shipments
By Brandon Macz
Moscow-Pullman Daily News, Moscow, Idaho
July 29--The Idaho Transportation Department issued two new permits Thursday for transporting Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil refinery equipment up U.S. Highway 95 and Interstate 90.
ITD spokesman Adam Rush said the two overlegal shipments are similar to the one that left the Port of Lewiston on July 15. The megaload also permitted for travel at that time was delayed and a start date remains unknown, he said.
"The bigger one does not have a permit for that one yet," Rush said. "These two are pretty close to the same size as the previous one."
The two overlegal loads are 17.6 feet wide, 14 feet tall and 76 feet long with one weighing 85,000 pounds and the other at 88,000 pounds.
One will begin travel 10 p.m. Saturday with the other scheduled for the same time Sunday with Alberta, Canada, as their final destination for the Kearl Oil Sands Project.
"The dimension of these that is overlegal is the width," Rush said, and at 17.6 feet wide, they take up about 1 1/2 lanes. "These ones do not have restrictions on their hours because they're mostly within the legal dimensions."
But 10 p.m. will be the start time as indicated in the transportation plan submitted to ITD, said Imperial Oil spokesman Pius Rolheiser.
"We applied for (permits) a day or two ago, but they were issued today by ITD," he said. "We're still working on exact timing for the larger module of the two that we got initial permits for in June. We'll probably be seeking a revised permit for that this week."
The overlegal loads use a conventional trailer -- the megaload will use a hydraulic trailer -- and can go much faster, said Rolheiser, adding he was not sure how far the loads would travel on their first nights. The megaload -- at 23 feet wide, 208 feet long and 13 1/2 feet tall -- is planned to take three nights and first stop at the Latah/Benewah county line.
"Our base plan is that -- depending on traffic flow and how far we proceed with ITD approval -- we could go further," Rolheiser said of the two overlegal shipments.
Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil contractor Mammoet will be escorted on its shipment route up U.S. 95 and I-90 to the Idaho/Montana border using pilot vehicles and two Idaho State Police vehicles.
ISP Region 2 Capt. Lonnie Richardson in Lewiston said his agency has a contract for escorting the two shipments and is working on a long-term contract to handle the 60-plus shipments remaining at the port.
"They need to get them out of here, and we'd like to get them out of here as well," he said. "It's too difficult to do (contracts) a couple at a time."
Because the shipments are only overlegal loads, they do not require weighing or inspection by an ISP commercial vehicle specialist, Richardson said. Without delays, he said a shipment that size can make it from the Port of Lewiston to the Idaho/Montana border in 6 1/2 hours.
"We're going to go about halfway to Coeur d'Alene and meet up with Region 1 state police, and they'll pick it up," Richardson said. "We're going to go about to Worley."
Brandon Macz can be reached at (208) 882-5561, ext. 238, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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(c) 2011, Moscow-Pullman Daily News, Moscow, Idaho
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