Mega-Load Update: "Really Close"

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It's becoming increasingly difficult to connect the dots in the saga over the mega-loads. But one thing is certain, something's going on at the Port of Lewiston.

On Nov.7 and Nov. 8, crews attached semitrailers to two of the loads, and Tuesday morning, workers were atop the large transport assemblies which would haul the equipment across U.S. Highway 12 in North Central Idaho.

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The four loads have been sitting at the Port since spring. Since then, attorneys for ConocoPhillips, the Idaho Transportation Department and opponents of the hauling have sparred in Idaho District Court and State Supreme Court.

Monday, ITD Director Brian Ness told Citydesk that his department was "really close" to issuing permits. Ness also conceded that just because permits are issued, doesn't mean the loads will begin immediately rolling.

“Once we make the decision to issue the permit, there’s a right for someone to file that request to hold a hearing,” he said. “You really don’t know what kind of hearing you’re going to get until you’ve got that permit, and again, we’re really close.”

"Yes, we'll ask for those hearings," Laird Lucas of Advocates for the West told Citydesk Tuesday. "It's all part of the Idaho Administration Procedures Act."

Lucas is representing three Central Idahoans opposing the megaloads.

"I've been talking regularly with the ITD and their attorneys," said Lucas. "And they told me they want to do everything right procedurally."

Meanwhile, Conoco spokesman John Roper said he wants his crews to be on standby.

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"The activity at the Port of Lewiston is to ensure that they're ready, that we have adequate lead time to activate our very detailed and thoughtful transportation plan, " Roper told The Missoulian.