Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Megaloads hearing wraps up second day

The contested case hearing on Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil's plan to run 200-plus giant megaloads of oil equipment across scenic U.S. Highway 12 in north-central Idaho has wrapped up its second day, after a full day of testimony. In the morning, ITD employee Regina Phipps was questioned about the permit process; she was followed by University of Montana economist Steve Senninger, who addressed the impact of the region's tourism economy. In the afternoon, two of ITD's bridge experts testified; they were called as witnesses by both ITD and the megaloads opponents.

Laird Lucas, attorney for the opponents, said they don't question the department's bridge engineering studies. "I think it's clear that ITD put a lot of work into assuring that the loads can cross the bridges on Highway 12 without them collapsing - I don't think anybody questions that," he said. "What we're questioning is the long-term impacts to the highway from carrying such heavy loads and the numbers that are headed (there) today. I think those facts were established at the hearing today." On Wednesday, ITD officials including Doral Hoff from the Lewiston region and Alan Frew, who signed the decision to permit the megaloads, are scheduled to testify.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

Follow Betsy online: