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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow Megaload shipment crosses into Idaho

Megaload shipment crosses into Idaho

BOISE, Idaho — A megaload of oil refinery equipment headed to Canada has arrived in Idaho.

The 380-foot, 450-ton load left Vale Sunday night, traveled across the border and was parked Monday at the junction of U.S. Highway 95 and Idaho Highway 55.

It took three weeks for the load to travel 315 miles through Oregon.

The Idaho Department of Transportation issued a permit Friday to Omega Morgan.

It will be allowed to travel in Idaho only between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., and it will not be allowed to travel at all from Monday evening until Wednesday night.

The megaload is slated to travel 500 miles across Idaho, cross into Montana on U.S. Highway 93 and head north to the tar sands of Alberta, Canada.

Holly Zander, an Omega Morgan spokeswoman, confirmed that the second oversize load and its convoy were scheduled to depart from the Port of Umatilla Sunday, weather permitting.

Protesters managed to delay the first load.

“Assuming we’ll be able to travel (Sunday),” said Zander, “we should be able to make it to Idaho by Monday morning.” 

Protesters have been trying to block the first load, which arrived at the Port of Umatilla by barge from Portland, where it was manufactured at an undisclosed location. They say the evaporator will be used in an oil extraction and refining process that harms the environment and speeds climate change.

Some activists have attached themselves to the rig and to a disabled vehicle, forcing lengthy procedures to cut them loose. Several protesters have been arrested.

Trip Jennings, of activist group Portland Rising Tide, said Saturday that protesters knew of the scheduled departure of the second megaload and were “building a response plan.” He declined to elaborate.

The second megaload will be slightly longer, wider and taller than the first, according to measurements provided by the Transportation Department. It’s 380 feet long, 23 feet wide and 19 feet tall.

The load’s height means it can’t travel on Interstate 84, except for a short section between Stanfield and Pendleton where it will be routed around overpasses via freeway on- and off-ramps.

The second megaload is scheduled to move between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. each day, with occasional daytime travel under special conditions outlined in its state permit. The convoy is expected to slow traffic, with delays of up to 20 minutes, as it occupies both lanes of two-lane highways. The megaload will stay put on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Omega Morgan plans to haul the megaload southeast through Umatilla, Grant, Baker and Malheur counties, reaching the state border near Homedale, Idaho. The load is scheduled to take more than a week moving through Oregon.

Similar loads in August generated protests including a blockade by the Nez Perce tribe.

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