Refinery Says Megaloads to Go by Rail

But Calumet official won’t disclose when heavy machinery will leave Port of Wilma for Montana

Two of the three megaloads bound for a Calumet refinery in Great Falls, Montana, will leave the Port of Wilma by rail, not truck.

Exactly when the shipments will depart the Port of Wilma is not being disclosed, said company spokesman Noel Ryan.

Calumet will provide an update on the Great Falls project, which is doubling the capacity of the refinery, in its quarterly earnings report in early August.  Ryan said the company will not get into the details of how the machinery at the Port of Wilma is being transported.

Ryan’s statements came after days of heavy speculation by megaload opponents that two pieces of the equipment have left the port.  The machinery is so large that it would take up two lanes of highway, if it went by road.

The crude unit and hydrocracker that were taken to the Port of Wilma are key components in the expansion of the refinery, and Ryan said they will separate crude oil into products such as gasoline, diesel, and asphalt.

The equipment was originally scheduled to leave the Port of Wilma by truck and go north on U.S. Highway 95 to Coeur d’Alene, then east into Montana on Interstate 90.

That route was later shifted, with Idaho State Highway 200 near Sandpoint replacing Interstate 90, after concerns emerged that the shipments were too heavy to cross Veterans Memorial Centennial Bridge on Interstate 90, said Idaho Transportation Department spokesman Adam Rush.

“There isn’t a time frame or schedule to issue a permit for the shipments,” Rush said.

Rush referred all other questions about the shipments to Mammoet, a third-party hauler that was going to move the megaloads, and to Bigge Crane, a company that Rush said worked with transportation department staff members on moving the equipment.

Mammoet and Bigge Crane haven’t returned messages left by the Tribune.  Others that might know the whereabouts of the cargo have not returned calls or have declined to comment.

Among them are the Washington State Department of Transportation and The Great Northwest Railroad, which operates the only rail line at the Port of Wilma.

The Tribune has submitted written records requests to transportation departments in Idaho and Washington, seeking additional information.  Neither agency has yet provided documents in response to those queries.

(By Elaine Williams, The Lewiston Tribune)

1 thought on “Refinery Says Megaloads to Go by Rail

  1. Pingback: Biggest Megaload Never! | Wild Idaho Rising Tide

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