Friday, April 14, Spokane Megaload Alert!

According to Spokane television media sources shared by a core Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) activist, one of at least three half-million-pound megaloads heading to an oil refinery near Blaine, northwest Washington, will move from the Idaho panhandle into Washington at 7 pm this evening, Friday, April 14 [1].  The Washington State Department of Transportation and the huge size of the boiler and truck/trailer combination, together weighing 480,000 pounds and measuring 213 feet long and almost 22 feet wide, require that this megaload only moves during overnight hours on a route avoiding low, interstate overpasses and bridges that may not withstand its weight.

The megaload will travel along Washington Highway 290 and Trent Avenue, south on Pines Road to the Interstate 90 westbound lanes, then exit onto Broadway Avenue in Spokane [2].  After turning south on Fancher, it will proceed west onto Third then Second Avenues past Altamont, before re-entering the westbound interstate.  Detouring through Cheney on Washington Highway 904, the megaload will take I-90 south to the Country Travel Plaza at Highways 395 and 26, where it will stop for the day.  Please see the following media coverage, megaload route map, and facebook posts, and join Spokane and north Idaho activists for multiple protests of this fossil fuel infrastructure, starting at the Trent and Pines intersection at 7:30 pm.

At 12:05 and 12:19 am on Sunday morning, April 9, WIRT observed, documented, and reported two colossal, box-like megaloads on red (Mammoet?) trailers transported by pull and push trucks outside the downtown WIRT office windows overlooking North First Avenue in Sandpoint, Idaho [3].  Similar to previous shipment equipment used to haul tar sands mining and refining megaloads, the transports cruised north and turned west onto Cedar Street.  We wondered why these megaloads were traversing Sandpoint city streets: Are they too heavy for the Sand Creek Byway paralleling the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) oil and coal train route, which the heaviest ever, August-September 2014 megaload traveled?  Did they commence their journey on regional roads at Lewiston area ports, come up U.S. Highway 95 through Moscow, and cross the vulnerable Long Bridge over Lake Pend Oreille?  Are more of these megaloads heading our way on this route?

Thanks to amazing, Moscow area, megaload monitors, who checked the Ports of Wilma and Lewiston on Sunday, April 9, we know that absolutely no similarly massive loads, machinery, or parts loom at either location [4].  The anonymous scouts reported that the whole Port of Wilma, across the Snake River from Clarkston, Washington, has transformed into a huge lumberyard that megaload opponents would not recognize.  They found nothing but some grain storage among quiet conditions at the Port of Lewiston, upstream on the Clearwater River in Idaho.

The two long, and thus likely heavy, megaloads seen crossing downtown Sandpoint apparently are coming from Canada, as revealed by information that emerged mid-week from facebook conversations surrounding a photo of a Wednesday, April 12 sighting of a similar shipment around Priest River [5, 6].  In linked comments, an area resident says that she has “driven past these at least three times, [while] they’ve been stopped for the night.”  Another participant states that he “talked to them a couple weeks ago.  They are…being shipped to Everett, to be loaded on a ship to Australia: Some sort of compressor.”

WIRT is still seeking to garner and share information about the owner, hauler, origin, destination, weight, length, and especially cargo of these three megaloads, from a public records request filed with the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD), who provided no advance, public notice of these megaloads’ passage.  But because ITD responses typically take two, long weeks to answer these questions, we ask that you please share any information with WIRT about these behemoth, industrial invasions.  Previous Big Oil onslaughts along U.S. Highway 95 have threatened public safety and infrastructure with road bed damages during saturated spring conditions, harms that we have witnessed becoming increasingly evident over time.  Thousands of north Idaho, eastern Washington, and regional citizens are eager to learn more about this situation and share this story.

[1] Motorists Need to Be Alert for “Super” Load on Area Roadways, April 14, 2017 KHQ

[2] Map of Spokane Megaload Route, April 14, 2017 Wild Idaho Rising Tide

[3] Two Sandpoint Megaloads!, April 9, 2017 Wild Idaho Rising Tide

[4] Sandpoint Megaloads Update!, April 9, 2017 Wild Idaho Rising Tide

[5] Anyone Know What All These Trucks Have Been Hauling?, April 12, 2017 John Hurst

[6] A Wednesday, April 12 Sighting in Priest River…, April 14, 2017 Wild Idaho Rising Tide

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