This afternoon's surprise in the ongoing drama over the proposed mega-loads on Highway 12 was over barricades.
While testifying at a contested case hearing, Alan Frew, Idaho's Director of the Dept. of Motor Vehicles testified that the state transportation department had authorized barricades to block off scores of turnouts along Highway 12. The turnouts would be necessary for ConocoPhillips to occasionally pull over while hauling four mega-loads of oil equipment from the Port of Lewiston to Montana. ITD is allowing that the turnouts be barricaded up to 24 hours prior to the transport.
"Protestors could block the turnouts," testified Frew. "We've never gotten this much public comment and scrutiny, and that includes—I'll call them 'nuts'—that may be well intentioned."
"But that's going to impact a lot more than the nuts," countered Laird Lucas, attorney for opponents to the mega-loads. "If I got tired and needed to pull out, I wouldn't be able to do that."
"We need to ensure the safe and orderly movement of these loads," said Frew.
"If you were really concerned about public safety, you'd just say no to these loads," said Laird.
"Objection," barked counsels for ITD and Conoco.