Megaload May Roll through Monday: Imperial Oil Received Permit from ITD

Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil can move its first half-height megaload through Moscow on U.S. Highway 95 Monday from the Port of Lewiston after receiving a permit Wednesday through the Idaho Transportation Department.

The equipment module, destined for the Kearl Oil Sands Project in Alberta, Canada, is 24-feet wide, 14-feet tall and 208-feet long, according to an email from ITD spokesman Jeff Stratten. Including the pusher truck, the total weight of the shipment is 413,600 pounds.

The shipment’s specifics are identical to a load that had been permitted for travel in June, but was pushed to July and then delayed again. Several phone messages left with Imperial Oil spokesman Pius Rolheiser were not returned Wednesday.

In the email, Stratten states the oil company requested and was issued the permit Wednesday. The shipment will leave the Port of Lewiston at night, the email states, but a specific travel schedule was not provided to ITD. The permit is valid for five days. Under the oil company’s initial plan, the loads would travel between 10 p.m. and 5:30 a.m., stopping periodically to prevent traffic delays more than 15 minutes long. At 24-feet wide, the shipment will block both lanes of travel on U.S. 95.

The environmental group Wild Idaho Rising Tide will monitor this shipment as it has with smaller loads in the past, said community organizer Helen Yost.

“We are planning a protest proportionate to the size of this megaload,” she said, noting that Monday will be the first day of classes for students at the University of Idaho. “We’re hoping that since the student population is back among us that many will want to get involved in such a protest.”

Yost said group members will follow the shipment from the Port of Lewiston past Coeur d’Alene, where it will access Interstate 90 on its way to the Idaho/Montana border. She said there is some concern about how bridges along I-90 will be able to handle the weight of the largest shipments like this one, so additional monitoring will occur on the interstate.

(By Brandon Macz, Moscow-Pullman Daily News)


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