It wasn't in their original plans, but bit-by-bit ExxonMobil is moving its mega-loads from the Port of Lewiston toward the Kearl Oil Sands Project in Alberta, Canada. Exxon had hoped to haul more than 200 giant rigs across U.S. Highway 12. That resulted in more than a year of legal wrangling, which still hasn't seen the light at the end of the tunnel. Meanwhile, more than 20 mega-loads have sat idle at the port since last October.
So Exxon has been breaking down the shipments that had already been parked in Lewiston, so that they would be more conducive for traveling a different route: up US 95 through Moscow and Coeur d'Alene before heading east on Interstate 90 and up to Canada. The latest scaled-down loads are rolling this weekend. One left Lewiston on Saturday night, another will move Sunday night and still another will roll Monday night. But more than 150 mega-loads still are awaiting shipment across the Pacific and up the Columbia River. Exxon is hoping that all appeal processes will have exhausted by the time the lion's share of the loads have been moved.