Much of the debate surrounding mega-loads, the oversized shipments of equipment. usually for big oil, that have been rolling across highways in North Idaho have centered on environmental or safety concerns.
But the Lewiston Tribune reports this morning that the Idaho Transortation Department has had to shell out nearly $200,000 to accomodate 79 mega-loads that traveled on U.S. highways 12 and 95 during 2011. More than half of the expenditures were specifically for snow and ice removal and is expected to be reimbursed by trucking companies, contracted by ExxonMobil and ConoccoPhillips.
Exxon has been "breaking down" some of its mega-load shipments at the Port of Lewiston, in order to roll them up Highway 95, through Moscow and Coeur d'Alene, rather than its preferred route of Highway 12. The oil giant ran into significant pushback from environmentalists about its proposal to move its giant rigs along the Clearwater and Lochsa rivers before rolling into Montana and up to the Kearl Oil Sands Project in Alberta, Canada.