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Second megaload ahead of schedule, cuts delays

Sun., Feb. 20, 2011

LEWISTON – The second of four oversized loads of ConocoPhillips oil refinery equipment being shipped across Idaho to Montana arrived at a stopping point near Kooskia in northern Idaho Saturday morning, the Idaho Transportation Department said.

The agency said the oil company’s moving contractor, Emmert International, covered two segments on U.S. Highway 12 rather than just one during the move that started late Friday.

The agency said crews navigated several challenging curves between Orofino and Kooskia with no problems during the 34-mile transit, and traffic delays were kept to 15 minutes or less.

“We are pleased with the way the transport took place Friday night and this morning,” ITD maintenance engineer Doral Hoff said in a statement. “The changes Emmert made since moving the first load reduced delays and resulted in a very smooth process.”

Those changes, officials said, included putting Emmert workers on the trailer and steering it independently of the trucks. The first load to go through the area caused lengthy delays to other highway travelers, including one that lasted 59 minutes.

Because the second load covered two segments in one night, the expected arrival time for the load to reach Montana has been cut from seven days to six. But that depends on weather in the region. Plans called for the load to leave Kooskia late Saturday and travel about 30 miles to another stopping point on U.S. Highway 12 at milepost 103.

The loads are starting from the Port of Lewiston and heading for a refinery in Billings, each carrying half of a 300-ton coke drum

On another front, the Lewiston Tribune reported that the Idaho Transportation Department has scheduled a test module belonging to Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil to start moving across the same U.S. Highway 12 route late Tuesday.

The company wants to move more than 100 oversized loads across Idaho and through Montana to the Kearl Oil Sands in Alberta.

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