Biggest Megaload Never!


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Protest Places & Tentative Times

Lewiston: Sunday, August 10, 9 pm: Arrive at the park/boat launch at Frontage Road and Steelhead Way, before the convoy closes Frontage Road, and expect to move to multiple locations as the megaload progresses.  Carpools depart from Third and Washington streets in Moscow at 8 pm (http://goo.gl/maps/BG4dt).

Moscow: Monday, August 11, 10 pm: Meet at Third and Washington streets outside Moscow City Hall.  Although this venue attracts too much police presence, it endures as the defacto megaload protest location.  The gargantuan load mounted the Lewiston grade and parked at Highway 95 milepost 320 at 2 am on Sunday night and will likely cross Moscow before midnight on Monday night (http://goo.gl/maps/4x0BQ).

Plummer: Wednesday, August 13, 10 pm: Converge outside the Warpath, before the Bigge megaload likely crosses Plummer at 11 pm or midnight.  Carpools from the Palouse region depart Third and Washington Streets in Moscow at 9 pm (http://goo.gl/maps/G5IV8).

Coeur d’Alene: Wednesday/Thursday, August 13-14: Come to the corner of West Linden Avenue and Lincoln Way at a time and date (early Thursday morning?) to be announced.  Carpools from the Palouse region depart Third and Washington Streets in Moscow at 9 pm on Wednesday (http://goo.gl/maps/0WWbv).

Sandpoint: Thursday, August 14, 5 pm & 10 pm: Assemble at 5 pm for a community meeting in Sandpoint Library rooms 103 and 104, and at 10 pm outside the Conoco gas station on East Superior Street, before the Calumet megaload crosses the Long Bridge at 11 pm, midnight, or later (http://goo.gl/maps/ryQLa).

Hope: Friday, August 15, 6 pm & Sunday, August 17, 9 pm: Bring your friends, family, and protest signs and gather at 6 pm on Friday for a community meeting in the upstairs room of the Old Ice House Pizzeria, 140 West Main Street in Hope, and at 9 pm on Sunday outside the Old Ice House Pizzeria, to monitor and protest the last 18 miles of this Alberta tar sands/Bakken shale oil infrastructure onslaught through Idaho (http://goo.gl/maps/EMz00).

Swan Lake: Sunday, August 24, 9:30 pm: Gather by 9:30 pm at the south end of the lakeside Swan Lake Day Use Area parking lot on the west side of Montana Highway 83, about one mile northwest of the town of Swan Lake (http://goo.gl/maps/zt3nf) [3].  Carpools depart from the east side of the Albertson’s parking lot, 1003 East Broadway Street in Missoula, after 7:30 pm (http://goo.gl/maps/XARbQ).  Expect to monitor the convoy and move to multiple protest locations, such as Condon and Seeley Lake, as the megaload progresses.

Clearwater Junction: Monday, August 25, 9:30 pm: Meet at 9:30 pm at the Clearwater Rest Area at the Clearwater Junction of Montana Highway 200 milepost 32 and Montana Highway 83 (http://goo.gl/maps/TKy7N) [4].  Carpools depart from the east side of the Albertson’s parking lot, 1003 East Broadway Street in Missoula, after 8:30 pm (http://goo.gl/maps/XARbQ).  Anticipate additional megaload monitoring along Highway 200 and protests in Lincoln and other places along the route.

Lincoln & Great Falls: Tuesday, August 26, 9 pm: Arrive by 9 pm at the Aspen Grove Campground about six miles east of Lincoln on a short access road off the south side of Montana Highway 200 (http://goo.gl/maps/8SqDf) [5].  Carpools depart from the east side of the Albertson’s parking lot, 1003 East Broadway Street in Missoula, after 7:30 pm (http://goo.gl/maps/XARbQ).  Monitors will follow the load and protest its arrival at the Great Falls Calumet refinery during the to-be-announced early morning hours of Wednesday, August 27 (http://goo.gl/maps/42HfG).

After eight anxious months and the usual last-minute fiasco to deter legal and physical resistance, the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) issued a permit for Bigge Crane and Rigging Company early on Friday afternoon, August 8 [1].  The San Leandro, California-based company plans to haul an up to 1,086,000-pound piece of Great Falls, Montana, refinery equipment across northern Idaho over four to five nights, after departing the Port of Wilma near Clarkston, Washington, at 10 pm on Sunday, August 10.  The bottom, lightest, one-foot wider section of a hydrocracker, which would assist in tripling tar sands production at the Montana Refining Company owned by Calumet Specialty Products Partners, measures 311 feet long, 21 feet wide, and 16 feet, 8 inches high and weighs 926,000 pounds with interconnected trailers and trucks, when additional pull and push trucks are not powering the transport [2].  Accompanied by Idaho State Police, flaggers, and pilot vehicles every night between 10 pm and 5:30 am, the heaviest and longest shipment to (n)ever cross the region can move at speeds between 5 and 35 miles per hour.  It would enter Idaho from the eastern Washington port on Idaho Highway 128, and move north on U.S. Highway 95 up the Lewiston grade, avoiding the bridge over U.S. Highway 195 by briefly sidetracking under the bridge into Washington (with a permit?) and back into Idaho against off-ramp traffic.  After journeying through Moscow, Plummer, and Coeur d’Alene and crossing the two-mile Long Bridge to Sandpoint, the megaload would travel east to Montana on Idaho Highway 200, the federally designated Pend Oreille Scenic Byway with possible weight restrictions and load limits for the lake shore road partially built on fill material [3].  By Idaho law throughout the trip, the convoy must limit the traffic delays of two-lane blockage to 15 minutes, by notifying the transport driver of approaching and trailing vehicles and pulling off the roadway to let them pass.

In less than a Friday hour after ITD’s announcement, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) responded to three ITD offices, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) in Boise, and the Idaho Attorney General, alerting them to a formal WIRT petition filed by the 5 pm MDT close of the business day.  The petition requests an immediate stay and reconsideration of ITD’s permit issuance to Bigge only days before it hauls its oversize shipment across northern Idaho [4-6].  By describing the many potential hazards to public safety, convenience, and road and bridge infrastructure that this megaload would impose, the petition outlines ITD’s subsequent violations of the U.S. Fourteenth Amendment and Idaho rules governing open public meetings, overlegal permits, and ITD operating objectives, as explained by Moscow community radio comprehensive coverage and a WIRT interview about the Calumet refinery megaload saga [7].  Wild Idaho Rising Tide did not receive explicitly requested acknowledgement of WIRT petition receipt from ITD, FHWA, and the attorney general on Friday, although the biggest ever megaload could roll before normal ITD business hours on Monday.  But a local reporter noted that, “ITD spokesman Adam Rush said his agency was prepared to receive a petition seeking to halt the shipment and that the matter would be considered over the weekend, before the shipment could legally leave the Port of Wilma…  If the WIRT petition isn’t granted, the megaload shipment could pass through Moscow late Sunday or early Monday” [8].  Whether any state officials bother to notify the petitioning group of their decision or just continue to dismiss it as collateral damage on the roadside to ruin remains uncertain.

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