Snow Halts Megaload West of Powell

Water purification equipment may move tonight if weather cooperates

A megaload carrying American-made water purification equipment has been stranded by snow on a remote spot on U.S. Highway 12.

The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) announced Friday that the shipment wouldn’t move at least until this evening because of weather.

The extra-big rig was at milepost 143, 19 miles west of Powell, as of Friday morning.  It was originally scheduled to reach Montana by that time.

The chance of snow was listed as 100 percent at Powell for Friday evening, according to the National Weather Service.

Plans for the remainder of the weekend were fluid, according to ITD.

“The shipment may resume travel on Saturday night, if weather and road conditions are favorable,” according to an ITD news release.

Even before Friday, the shipment was running behind its original schedule.  It had been expected to reach Idaho’s border with Montana early Friday, after four segments of travel.  At the present rate, it will take at least one more night to get across the state.

ITD offered no explanation for the revisions in the plan prior to Friday.  The “schedule is a preliminary one that can change based on weather conditions and the distance the shipper wants to cover each night,” ITD spokesman Adam Rush of Boise wrote in an email.

The megaload was barged from the Portland area to the Port of Wilma, just west of Clarkston.  It entered Idaho Monday evening on its way to an undisclosed customer in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, in the heart of the Canadian oil sands.

The shipment takes up two lanes of travel and has to pull over frequently to limit traffic delays to no more than 15 minutes.  It can only travel between 10 p.m. and 5:30 a.m.

(By Elaine Williams, The Lewiston Tribune)

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