Megaload Marches South

The first of three scheduled “megaloads” through eastern Oregon is back on the road, as daytime temperatures rose to near 40 degrees on Tuesday in Pendleton.

Omega Morgan, the Hillsboro-based trucking company hired to move the load, made the call after 9 pm to continue on its route south over Battle Mountain Pass toward Ukiah.  The massive shipment of tar sands equipment bound for Canada had been stalled since December 3, due to snow and ice.

The 22-foot-wide, 380-foot-long load is only permitted to move at night, and only when driving conditions are clear, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT).  Regional spokesman Tom Strandberg said crews assessed the route to make sure it was safe to travel. Continue reading

Megaload Watch: Ready to Roll Again

Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) says the megaload could move tonight, weather permitting.

The load has been parked at the south edge of Pendleton since last week, due to icy road conditions.  Officials say Omega Morgan is planning to move the load south toward Ukiah tonight.  The load is allowed to move only between 8 pm and 6 am, to limit traffic impacts.

If conditions allow, the load would move on Wednesday night to Mount Vernon, and on Thursday night through John Day and Prairie City to Austin Junction.

ODOT said the load could reach John Day by 9 or 10 pm on Thursday.

All moves are weather-dependent, however.

An Omega Morgan spokeswoman said company crews monitor the conditions each night, to make the call on whether to move.

The National Weather Service is forecasting a 30 percent chance of snow on Thursday in John Day, with snow likely Thursday night.

Friday’s forecast calls for a slight chance of rain and snow, as temperatures rise above freezing.

(By the Blue Mountain Eagle)

Giant Heat Exchanger Will Soon Pass through Idaho

Megloads - Idaho Press-Tribune

The winter storm over the weekend stranded a truck carrying a very large load just south of Pendleton, Oregon, Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) representative Adam Rush said, but it’ll arrive on Idaho streets before long.

Holly Zander, spokesperson for transportation firm Omega Morgan, said the company will keep a close eye on the weather and continue its journey once conditions clear up.

“It’s fully dependent on the weather at this point,” Zander said.  “We’re just evaluating it on a daily basis to see.”

The cargo, a heat exchanger bound for an oil drilling operation in Canada, weighs about 330,000 pounds, Zander said.  The total weight along with the truck, trailer, and other transportation equipment comes to a little over 901,000 pounds, according to an ITD permit application.

But the megaload’s passage through southern Idaho is not without controversy.  Helen Yost of the activist group Wild Idaho Rising Tide expressed concerns ranging in scale from local traffic delays to major environmental degradation around the Alberta tar sand facilities. Continue reading