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A security officer walks past the megaload while at a stopping point outside of Arco, about 50 miles west of Idaho Falls, Idaho. Idaho Transportation Department officials say the 45-ton shipment of oil production equipment is drawing close to the Montana border and could leave Idaho roads this weekend, around the same time a second shipment enters Idaho from Oregon. (AP)
Another Canada-bound megaload should cross into Idaho by the weekend
A second megaload making its way across Oregon and into Canada will enter Idaho as soon as this weekend.
This is the second of three loads headed for the tar sands of Ft. McMurray, Alberta.
The loads are being transported by Omega Morgan, a Hillboro-based transportation company.
“The third one is at the Port of Umatilla,” said Holly Zander, a spokesperson for the company. It is unclear when the third shipment will move.
Zander says delays caused by protesters haven’t pushed the company’s schedule out.
“We’re just moving along with our job,” she said.
Two protesters stalled the first shipment, which is only permitted by ODOT to move at night, at the beginning of December. In John Day, more protesters delayed the load about two hours.
“Outside that we haven’t had any delays caused by protesters,” Zander said, though she noted that protesters have showed up at Omega Morgan and ODOT offices in Seattle, Hillsboro and Portland.
The loads are carrying pieces of water purification equipment for a heat exchanger for oil recovery, Zander said.
Despite the protests, Zander says Omega Morgan has actually gotten positive feedback as the loads move through Oregon, Idaho and Montana.
“We’ve actually had more people calling in support of us from Eastern Oregon than protesters,” she said. “We stay locally and try to hire locally as far as traffic control and security. It’s been really great that despite all the protests we have really great community support.”
According to ODOT, Omega Morgan is permitted to travel between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. with only occasional daytime travel allowed under special conditions. The loads head southeast from the Port of Umatilla through Umatilla, Grant, Baker and Malheur counties and enter Idaho near Homedale. The shipments are traveling on portions of Interstate 84, U.S. 395, U.S. 26, U.S. 20 and Oregon Highway 201.
The loads are about 380 feet long, 23-feet wide and almost 20-feet tall. Because of the slow-going freight, ODOT has advised drivers to be prepared for slow traffic and delays up to 20 minutes since the load takes up both lanes while on two-lane highways.
Tom Strandberg, an ODOT representative, said Thursday they had not been notified of when the third shipment will leave the Port of Umatilla.