Friday, December 6, 2013

Megaload will pass through Blaine County

Shipment weighs 450 tons and is 376 feet long


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer

Shown in black is the route a 450-ton megaload will be taking through southern Idaho if the shipment is approved by the Idaho Transportation Department. Express graphic by Tony Barriatua

    Sometime within the next week or so, a 450-ton megaload, longer than a football field, is likely to be transported through southern Blaine County on U.S. Highway 20.
    The cargo consists of water-purification equipment that was manufactured in Portland, Ore., and is destined for the tar sands oil area of Alberta, Canada.
    Although the Idaho Transportation Department on Thursday had not yet—at least by press deadline—approved the shipment through the state, the megaload is already on its way. It was first shipped by barge from Portland up the Columbia River to the Port of Umatilla. Then, it was loaded onto trucks that left Umatilla on Monday night.
    ITD spokesman Nathan Jerke said Wednesday that the shipment, now traveling through Oregon, was expected to reach Idaho the evening of Sunday, Dec. 8. However, there have already been delays, first caused by protesters on Sunday and then by bad weather in Oregon on Tuesday and Wednesday.
    The Associated Press reported Thursday that the megaload that day was parked south of Pendleton, Ore., waiting for improved weather conditions.


We’ve approved stuff that’s wider or higher.”
Nathan Jerke
ITD


    Once the load reaches Idaho, if the shipment is approved by ITD, it will enter the state on U.S. Highway 19 near Homedale west of Boise. The shipment will then travel along state and federal highways south of Interstate 84 until it reaches Hammett.
    From Hammett, the load will travel back to the northwest on I-84 until it reaches Mountain Home. Then the load will be shipped on Highway 20 through Elmore, Camas, Blaine and Butte counties. The route turns to the north just east of Arco and the shipment is planned to leave the state and enter Montana just north of Salmon.
    The shipment is one of several megaloads bound for the Alberta tar fields. Shipments were earlier made through northern Idaho but were blocked by a federal judge in September who determined environmental aspects of the U.S. Highway 12 Wild and Scenic River corridor had not adequately been assessed.
    With the northern route barred, Omega Morgan, an Oregon-based trucking firm hired to ship the load, proposed the route through southern Idaho instead.
    In Oregon, which approved the shipping plan, the load is only allowed to be moved at night.
    Jerke said Thursday that ITD had not yet determined what hours of the day the megaload would be allowed to move.
    Jerke said the load is 376 feet long, including the three trucks moving it, with one truck pulling and the other two pushing. The load is just over 22 feet wide and 18 feet 11 inches high.
    Although the total weight, including the trucks, is just over 450 tons, Jerke said the weight is distributed over 16 different axles, so that the weight per axle is about the same as an ordinary semi-truck or 10-wheeler.
    The load will cross the aging bridge over the Big Wood River to the west of Timmerman Junction, but Jerke said the ITD Bridge Section has already determined the bridge can support the load because of the weight distribution.
    Final approval for the shipment rests with the ITD Department of Motor Vehicles Over-Legal Section.
    Jerke said the load is the longest that’s ever moved through ITD District 4, which oversees highways in the Magic and Wood River valleys. The largest before was a 220-feet-long load that went through Twin Falls on a trip to Nevada.
    He said the megaload should be able to accommodate any highway turns along the route because each of the 16 axles has its owning steering capability.
    The maximum speed the shipment will be allowed to travel is 35 miles per hour.
    Jerke said that when the shipment is moving, traffic will be stopped by escort vehicles in both lanes. However, the maximum time that traffic can be stopped is 15 minutes.
    Omega Morgan’s Transportation and Traffic Control Plan identifies turnout locations along the route, including Highway 20, where the megaload will be pulled off the highway to allow traffic to pass.
    Jerke said, other than the length of the shipment, the load is not that unusual.
    “We’ve approved stuff that’s wider or higher,” he said.
    Blaine County Commission Chairman Larry Schoen said Thursday that the commissioners have concerns about the shipment and will be sending a letter to ITD.
    “The board is going to issue a letter expressing its concern about traveler inconvenience, possible road damage, safety to the public and that the shipment be clean of any hazardous substances,” Schoen said.




About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of mtexpress.com and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads



-->
 Local Weather 
Search archives:


Copyright © 2014 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.