Even Megaloads Need a Break

Lot across from Wallace visitor center could be staging area

WALLACE — The city is discussing the idea of a megaload staging area that would be set up in the parking lot across from the visitors’ center.

During a special city council meeting Thursday, members unanimously gave Mayor Dick Vester the authority to enter into a contract to use the space for megaload parking and maintenance for six months.

“It’d be good for commerce in Wallace,” Vester said, because crews would utilize hotels, restaurants, and stores in town.

Large shipments of oil sand equipment headed to Canada were brought to Lewiston, Idaho, by ship. Originally, Imperial Oil wanted its equipment to travel by truck along two-lane Lolo Pass on Highway 12 and continue through Missoula and north to Canada. However, plans changed along the way and megaloads are instead being trucked on interstate highways, including I-90.

A staging area was set up at the Gold Creek Exit near Mullan, but due to a disagreement with the Idaho Transportation Department, the megaloads need somewhere else to go.

Mammoet Canada Western, a company specializing in heavy lifting and transport, contacted Vester last week to discuss options.

As per a suggestion made by Mullan Mayor Gary Garitone, Vester said the city will make a profit off the contract, but he does not yet know any dollar amounts.

The creation of the staging area would require the transport company to expand the parking lot’s entrance at their own expense.

“Certainly, we want our citizens to know that when it’s done, it’ll go back to the exact same,” said Dean Cooper, a city council member, noting Mammoet will pay to replace the landscaping when the staging area is no longer needed.

The parking lot will still be used as snow storage throughout the winter.

(By Kelsey Saintz, Shoshone News Press, Kellogg, Idaho)

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