Extra-Long Rig Moves from Idaho into Montana on U.S. Highway 12

Idaho officials say an extra-long load traveled across U.S. Highway 12 in north-central Idaho to the Montana border late Thursday and early Friday.

Idaho Transportation Department spokesman Adam Rush tells the Lewiston Tribune that the rig carrying a generator skid to an undisclosed destination went from the agency’s weigh station east of Lewiston to the state border in a single night of travel.

Rush says the cargo had been scheduled to move before Christmas but was delayed by weather.

The rig is 163 feet long, weighs about 250,000 pounds, and is 15 feet wide and about 16 feet tall.

(By The Missoulian/Associated Press)

Environmental Concerns Remain for U.S. 95 Project

Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition member plans to address issues at public hearing for DEIS

The Idaho Transportation Department’s draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) for its U.S. Highway 95 realignment project from Thorn Creek Road to Moscow is now available, and there is plenty of reading to get done prior to the January 23 public hearing.

The environmental study was required by U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill in 2003 when he sided with the Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition in a lawsuit against the transportation department.

The coalition claimed that highway regulators did not address concerns regarding plans to reroute that section of U.S. 95 along Paradise Ridge and the damage that might be done to Palouse prairie habitat.

Al Poplawsky, a research associate with the University of Idaho’s department of plant, soil, and entomological sciences, said he will continue to argue against a route that would affect the Palouse prairie habitat, as he did nine years ago. Continue reading

U.S. Highway 95 Battle Resumes

Environmental group ‘disappointed’ with latest proposal for road south of Moscow

MOSCOW – An environmental group that sued to block construction on U.S. Highway 95 south of Moscow nine years ago is ramping up to oppose the latest version of the project.

“We’re certainly disappointed that they’re still going with an eastern alternative,” said Al Poplawsky, who served as the treasurer of the Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition during its lawsuit against the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) and the Federal Highway Administration.  “We were hoping otherwise.”

In 2003, the coalition joined with the Palouse Group of the Sierra Club and the Idaho Conservation League to secure an injunction from U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill, which forced the transportation department to complete a lengthy environmental impact review process.

The transportation department released a draft of the environmental impact statement this week that calls for an eastern route for the highway that crosses the western shoulder of scenic Paradise Ridge near Moscow.  The study analyzed 11 potential routes in three corridors: western, central, and eastern.

A similar proposed route triggered the 2003 lawsuit, with wildlife concerns, protection of native Palouse prairie, wetland preservation, urban sprawl, and climate-related safety questions in a list of objections. Continue reading

Oversized Load Crosses North Central Idaho in One Night

An extra-long load traveled on U.S. Highway 12 in north central Idaho late Thursday and early Friday.

The rig, carrying a generator skid to an undisclosed destination, went from an Idaho Transportation Department weigh station just east of Lewiston to the Montana border in a single night of travel, said Adam Rush, a Boise spokesman for the agency.

The cargo had originally been scheduled to move the week before Christmas but was delayed by weather.  It weighed close to 250,000 pounds, was about 15 feet wide, 16 1/2 feet tall, and 163 feet long, according to the transportation department. Continue reading