Shipments through Lewiston and Moscow will begin in January, require brief I-90 ramp closure
Three megaloads could be traveling through Lewiston and Moscow on their way to a Calumet refinery in Great Falls, Montana.
The cargo is expected to arrive at the Port of Wilma just west of Clarkston before taking U.S. Highway 95 and Interstate 90 through Idaho, said Adam Rush, a spokesman for the Idaho Transportation Department at Boise.
At 472 feet in length, the shipments will be longer than a football field. They’ll weigh 1.6 million pounds and be 27 feet wide and 16 feet tall.
Many details are still being determined, such as how many nights of travel it will take for the rigs to go through Idaho and which nighttime hours they’ll be allowed to travel.
“It would be after the first of the year,” Rush said. “One may start in January.”
They are being hauled by Mammoet USA South, a company with a name that’s similar to one that shipped megaloads for Imperial Oil in 2011.
One of the most complicated parts of the trip will be on Interstate 90 near Coeur d’Alene, where a brief closure of an on-ramp will be needed.
The megaloads will enter the Interstate at its junction with Highway 95. It will exit at the Sherman Avenue interchange to avoid using Veterans Memorial Bridge because it weighs more than the bridge is approved to carry, Rush wrote in an email.
It will travel 51/2 miles along East Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive, pass under an I-90 overpass and re-enter I-90 on a ramp not normally used for traffic, according to ITD. The ramp would have to be modified at Mammoet’s expense, Rush wrote.
A meeting with ITD staff on those issues is set for 4 to 7 p.m. today at ITD’s office at 600 W. Prairie Ave. in Coeur d’Alene.
ITD has been overseeing other megaloads in recent months.
Last summer Omega Morgan moved a megaload carrying a General Electric evaporator through north central Idaho on its way to oil fields in Alberta, Canada. That trip sparked protests by Nez Perce tribal members and environmentalists.
It was supposed to be the first of about 10. But opponents succeeded in federal court, and megaloads were temporarily suspended on U.S. Highway 12, the road Omega Morgan used.
Another similar shipment, which had been barged to the Port of Wilma before the controversy erupted, was split into four smaller loads that went through Idaho on U.S. Highway 95 and Interstate 90 in November, Rush said.
Refinery equipment is now being moved to Canada via Oregon and southern Idaho, but a G.E. spokeswoman declined to confirm for the Associated Press if that had originally been part of the 10 that had been intended for north central Idaho. Protestors chained together and weather have impeded the progress of the oversized rigs in Oregon.
(By Elaine Williams, The Lewiston Tribune)