The Idaho Transportation Department on Wednesday reissued permits for two Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil mini-megaloads - giant loads that have been reduced in height by half - to roll up Highway 95 from Lewiston through Moscow to Coeur d'Alene, then take I-90 to Montana en route to the Alberta oil sands project in Canada. That means the big loads have five days starting Friday to move, the Lewiston Tribune reports; click below for a full report from reporter Elaine Williams. She reports that a group is planning a protest in Moscow when the loads come through.
Megaload ready to roll through Moscow
By Elaine Williams
Lewiston Tribune, Idaho
July 14--Imperial Oil has five days starting Friday to get a megaload and another smaller, oversized shipment from the Port of Lewiston to Idaho's border via the Palouse.
The Idaho Transportation Department reissued the permits Wednesday for the moves, said Adam Rush, a spokesman for the agency in Boise.
The 23-foot-wide, 208-foot-long, 131/2-foot-tall shipment will be inspected and weighed today, but its exact date of departure hasn't been set yet, according to Rush and Pius Rolheiser, a spokesman for Imperial Oil.
Originally the megaload and the smaller shipment were going to leave the Port of Lewiston on July 27, but those plans were put on hold because the Idaho State Police didn't have enough staff to spare.
Two ISP officers working overtime paid for by Imperial Oil will accompany the larger rig which is supposed to pull over every 15 minutes to allow traffic to pass. Its travel will be limited to between 10 p.m. and 5:30 a.m.
The trip will occur in three segments with end points at the Shoshone County line on U.S. Highway 95, milepost 18 on Interstate 90 and the Idaho/Montana border, on their way to the Kearl Oil Sands in Alberta, Canada.
The smaller shipment will be on a conventional truck and trailer and subject to fewer requirements. It's expected to leave sometime Friday evening, Rolheiser said.
Both are carrying Korean-made pieces of an oil processing plant that were reduced in height to enable interstate travel after arriving at the Port of Lewiston. Opposition to the oversized loads prevented Imperial Oil from sending them on the company's preferred route of U.S. Highway 12. They are among more than 100 extra large hauls Imperial Oil wants to send through north central Idaho.
Aside from the weighing today, the load could face other obstacles. Wild Idaho Rising Tide has issued a news release it is organizing a "Street Parade and Party" to coincide with the load's arrival in Moscow.
The group will meet at Pie Hole Pizza at midnight on the day the load is shipping and walk past bars and restaurants "recruiting more demonstrators" before reaching Moscow City Hall. "Please bring your protest signs and banners, musical instruments and voices and spirit of resistance," the news release said.
Imperial Oil accepts and respects the right of individuals and groups to voice their opinions, Rolheiser said. "We do not accept nor will we tolerate actions that potentially threaten public safety or damage property."
Williams may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or (208) 848-2261.
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(c) 2011, Lewiston Tribune, Idaho
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.