It has been 3 weeks since the first Conoco/Phillips Mega load left the port of Lewiston destined for Billings Montana and it still sits waiting for the second load which left the port on February 17th and sits stranded in Kooskia, Idaho. The first load often did dangerous manuevers with its clustered crew in order to try to pull over every 10 to 15 minutes to allow traffic to pass. On the first night it had significant problems with Arrow Bridge just east of Lewiston. But the ITD employees that accompanied the load didn’t seem to notice or think it was worth mentioning that the extra dolly added to redistribute the weight while the load crossed Arrow Bridge had wheels that were tilted at a 45 degree angle into thin air. This load also scraped a rock face along the highway and caused a 59 minute delay in traffic in both directions. Also after the second day of travel the transport company (Emmert International) said it would be delayed for days because of weather, even though the roads were clear for travel. During this time workers were seen welding underneath the million dollar trailer.
It took almost 2 weeks for the first load to approach the Montana border and the last 40 miles were under a revised travel plan scheduled to take 4 days. Also along the route the pilot car that says “Follow This Vehicle” drove erratically and at times did not seem to care that it was in the left lane while all of the traffic behind it was moving in the right hand lane. On the first night a car travelling north on Rt. 95 took the Rt. 12 on ramp heading east and found that their were no people or anything else stopping that car from driving right into the side of the giant load and its support vehicles. As well people were threatened by “off duty” state cops who were paid to escort the Mega load. People were called terrorist for monitoring violations of the law. People were told that if they stepped out of their car they would be arrested. People were pulled over for following the pilot car.
The second load left Lewiston on Feb. 17th, travelled for 2 nights from 10 pm to 5:30 am and now is stuck in Kooskia for “routine maintenance” and a beautiful blizzard. GO SNOW! It struggled with Arrow Bridge as well with the dolly failing yet again. Emmert’s track record in Idaho probably won’t be highlighted on their web page anytime soon.
Exxon/Mobile was scheduled to do a “test run” of its biggest load Feb 22nd, but they apparently forgot their crew, trucks and trailers, so March 7th is the updated date. Also Exxon/Mobile has started cutting 33 of its loads in half at the port of Lewiston in order to have the option of taking them on the interstate to avoid route 12. They say Rt. 12 is still their preferred option but they are disappointed at how long the permit process has been held up in Idaho. It still wants to take 114 of the original 207 loads up Rt. 12. It has also started running the smaller loads from Vancouver Washington along I-5 and I-90 to the Alberta Tar Sands.
WINNONA LA DUKE WILL SPEAK IN LAPWAI IDAHO THIS SUNDAY 3:00-6:00 pm AT THE METHODIST CHURCH.