On Monday, October 22, at about 11 pm, Omega Morgan moved a cylindrical water treatment module bound for Sunshine Oilsands bitumen extraction/production operations near Fort McMurray, Alberta, through Lewiston, Idaho. Manufactured in the Portland, Oregon, area, the 236-foot-long, half-million-pound piece of equipment was barged up the Columbia and Snake Rivers to the Port of Wilma near Clarkston, Washington. Dedicated Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) activists confronted this first and longest tar sands megaload to cross Idaho and Montana via the Highway 12 wild and scenic river corridor, through the largest wildlands complex in the lower 48 states, and up the Blackfoot River valley and Rocky Mountain Front. Just a few miles into its historic 1000-mile-plus journey to its Canadian destination, WIRT demonstrated resistance near the Lewiston, Idaho, intersection of Idaho Highway 128 and U.S. Highways 12/95. There Omega Morgan workers dwarfed by the overlegal-size shipment adjusted transport trailer wheels that separate into independent sections to guide the load between front and rear trucks through road curves. In the third video segment, megaload monitors captured the behemoth squeezing past a Highway 12/95 sign in north Lewiston, followed by its convoy of pilot trucks, flagging teams, portable signs, and an ambulance, the latter included to assuage citizen concerns over megaload blockage of emergency services on narrow and sinuous upriver Highway 12. For the second part of this film, see the YouTube video Omega Morgan Megaload 10-22&23-12.
More footage of the Monday, October 22, passage of an Alberta tar sands water treatment vessel and accompanying convoy in Lewiston, Idaho, as it heads eastward along Highway 12/95. From the Port of Wilma, Washington, gateway through one of America’s greatest wilderness waterways, the Lochsa/Clearwater river corridor coveted by oil companies as a potential industrial route to the Canadian tar sands region, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) monitors followed, videotaped, and documented Omega Morgan transport movements over two nights. Traveling only 45 miles on its first, easiest night, the megaload encountered WIRT protesters near the Port of Lewiston (see the YouTube video Omega Morgan Megaload 10-22-12), before sliding past the former Flying J gas station on the Highway 12/95 frontage road. WIRT activists walked along the nearby Clearwater River pedestrian/bike path to witness another megaload pinch point where the frontage road joins the highway. In the third video segment filmed at the junction of Highways 12 and 95, the convoy traveled east in the westbound lanes to avoid a low underpass. Monitors documented its wrong-way incursion while conversing with an Idaho state trooper, who revised the 15-minute traffic clearance requirement of the transport to disqualify the watchful monitors. The fourth video segment illustrates dangerously rapid megaload travel over the Arrow Bridge spanning the Clearwater River, with both the front and rear trucks attached and escort vehicles awaiting its precariously heavy crossing. Finally, on Tuesday night, October 23, Omega Morgan personnel invited WIRT monitors to accompany the convoy within the river canyon between Orofino and Kamiah, Idaho, to avert the confusion of trailing vehicle drivers not passing when directed, like constantly shadowing rear monitors. WIRT scrutinized 22 miles of convoy movements over three hours, noting half-paved highway sections, durations of convoy stops, highway traffic volumes, and the speeds between 5 and 25 miles per hour and locations of the megaload traversing the Nez Perce Reservation. The transport permitted by the Idaho Transportation Department temporarily stopped mid-street in downtown Kamiah, before resuming its road- and climate-wrecking assault and falling short of its second parking destination near Kooskia later that night.