Mega-Load, Delayed One Day, Starts Rolling Across Eastern Oregon

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If the past 36 hours are any indication the latest mega-load to crawl through the region is going to be taking quite a while, in its crazy-quilt pattern of a route, before arriving at the Tar Sands oil project in Alberta, Canada.

Nearly two dozen protesters greeted the 901,000-pound rig in the early morning hours of Nov. 25 at the Port of Umatilla along the Columbia River just north of Hermiston, Ore., where it was scheduled to begin its journey through Eastern Oregon before heading across Southern Idaho and into Montana before heading north. But transport officials said the load "took longer than expected to load up and was waylayed for another day. In total, the load and transport vehicle measure 380 feet long, 23 feet wide, and 19 feet high.

Similar loads rolled across U.S. Highway 12 in north central Idaho earlier this year but met a series of protests and finally an order from a federal judge that halted any further shipments from crossing U.S. 12 until a study could be conducted on the environmental impact of mega-loads on the Wild and Scenic River Byway.

The new route, through Eastern Oregon, is approximately 300 miles long, much of it rolling across Highways 395 and 26. When the mega-load arrives in Idaho—and there are expected to be at least two more that follow—the giant rig is expected to roll through the communities of Homedale and Marsing, before traveling on Interstate 84 past Mountain Home, and then moving to U.S. Highways 20, 28 and 93 before heading into Montana.