The second of four ConocoPhillips mega-loads crawled along U.S. Highway 12 in North Central Idaho early this morning. What was initially expected to take four days to journey from the Port of Lewiston to the Montana border is now slated to take at least seven days. The Idaho Transportation Department revised Conoco's 700-page travel plan after confronting several unexpected challenges when the first load took the better part of two weeks to complete a journey that normally takes a passenger vehicle a few hours. The transport is expected to continue through the long President's Day weekend.
U.S. 12 could see two mega-loads next week, weather permitting. ITD has granted a permit to Exxon/Mobil to send a "test" shipment across the 38-mile stretch that winds along the Columbia and Lochsa rivers. Exxon wants to send at least 100 and possibly as many as 200 loads of equipment across U.S. 12, through Montana and up to the Kearl Oil Sands project in Alberta, Canada. Opponents told Citydesk they are readying their legal challenge to the Exxon mega-loads.