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Eye On Boise

ITD calls test megaload a ‘success,’ despite power outage, delays

Ken Johnson, Kearl module transportation project manager for Imperial Oil, a Canadian affiliate of ExxonMobil, testifies Friday at a contested-case hearing on Boise on the company's proposed megaloads on U.S. Highway 12. (Betsy Russell)
Ken Johnson, Kearl module transportation project manager for Imperial Oil, a Canadian affiliate of ExxonMobil, testifies Friday at a contested-case hearing on Boise on the company's proposed megaloads on U.S. Highway 12. (Betsy Russell)

A "test module" for proposed megaloads on U.S. Highway 12 in north-central Idaho that made it into Montana this week took weeks to arrive and caused a five-hour power outage and hour-long traffic delay along the way, but state transportation officials and Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil are calling it a success. "With the exception of the tree branch we clipped out of Lewiston and the guy wire, that move was very well done," Kenneth Johnson, Kearl module transportation project manager for Imperial Oil, a Canadian affiliation of ExxonMobil, told a state hearing officer Friday. Adam Rush, ITD spokesman, said, "If there's a delay above 15 minutes, we don't automatically characterize that as a failure." Rush said he couldn't say what would have made the test a failure. "ITD viewed the test module as a success," he said.

But Laird Lucas of Advocates for the West, an attorney representing residents and business owners along the route who object to the giant loads, dubbed the test a failure. "Based on what happened with the test module, they should pack up all their gear and go with a different route," Lucas said; you can read my full story here at spokesman.com.



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.

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