Southern Idaho's first glimpse of a mega-load, taking an awkward southern and eastern detour through the Gem State before heading north through Montana en route to the Tar Sands Oil Project in Alberta, Canada, will have to wait a little longer.
Movers had planned to pull the nearly 900,000-pound rig through Idaho by now before moving into Montana and up to Alberta, but protests and a steady blast of winter weather have waylaid the controversial journey.
In the current issue of Boise Weekly, we continue to chronicle the latest shipment which, when it hits the Idaho state line, is planned to skirt south on Idaho Highway 78, past Bruneau Dunes State Park. It'll meet up with I-84 and backtrack to Mountain Home, then head north on Highway 20. The load will continue along highways 30 and 28 until it meets up with Highway 93 in Salmon, crossing over the Montana border at Lost Trail Pass.
The route through Idaho is 476 miles.
"It's standard for us not to be on a straight line," said Holly Zander, spokeswoman for Omega Morgan, the contracted mover. "We have to make sure the road can bear the load, make sure all the turns and bridges are safe. This is something we do every day, but it will burn up a lot more fuel to take this longer route."
But activists with Wild Idaho Rising Tide, who have regularly met previous mega-load shipments with resistance, said they're already planning several Idaho protests as the latest rig crawls across the state. WIRT said it is planning to protest in or near Marsing, Mountain Home, Bellevue and Salmon.
"For now, we await the results of our colleagues' and our public records requests for Omega Morgan travel plans, permits, schematics and communications with state agencies, sent to the Idaho Transportation Department," said WIRT community organizer Helen Yost.