Mega-Load Snaps Power Line, Causing Outage Along U.S. 12


Things did not go smoothly overnight in the first leg of an ExxonMobil mega-load test shipment. The rig struck trees, knocking one 20-foot-long branch to the highway. Then it hit a guy wire near milepost 47, slicing the high-voltage power line, closing the highway for about an hour and knocking out power to hundreds of residents along U.S. Highway 12 in north central Idaho. The Idaho Transportation Department ordered Mammoet, Exxon's transport company, to investigate the incident before resuming the trip.

The rig is parked near milepost 61 today, just outside of Kooskia, Idaho. Exxon wants to roll the mega-load across Idaho and into Montana, in an effort to prove that it can move more than 200 shipments efficiently and safely up to its Kearl Oil Sands project in Alberta, Canada.

The test rig, weighing 490,000 pounds, is three stories tall, 24-feet-wide and 250-feet-long, making it the largest load ever to move across U.S. 12.