Opponents' Attorney: Mega-loads Are the Size of Buildings on the Highway

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Opening arguments are underway in today's contested case hearing concerning ConocoPhillips' plans to haul four mega-loads across north central Idaho.

Hearing Officer Merlyn Clark has agreed to consider an amendment that would increase the number of intervenors from four to 13. Each is a resident living along U.S. Highway 12 near the middle fork of the Clearwater River and each is declaring potential hardship if the loads are allowed to roll.

Attorney Natalie Havlina, on behalf of the intervenors, told Clark that every year, oversize loads are hauled across Highway 12, "But this year things are different. The ITD tried to grant permits to allow loads the size of small buildings to go up the highway."

The Idaho Attorney General's office, representing the Idaho Transportation Department, has said that the case is about public convenience, safety, reasonable necessity and traffic interruptions.

Clark told the packed ballroom at the Grove Hotel that some 241 documents are part of the official record and will be considered as evidence.