Mega-Loads Taking Longer Than Expected to Reach Idaho Panhandle

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A 926,000-pound piece of oil refining equipment the size of a NASA rocket is on its way to the Idaho Panhandle, but it isn't getting there as quickly as the Idaho Department of Transportation expected.

A few days ago, Boise Weekly reported on the massive shipment, which will go from Lewiston, up the 7-mile U.S. 95 grade, through the Palouse to Moscow, then to Coeur d'Alene and then cross the 2-mile Long Bridge stretching from the mouth of the Pend Oreille River to Sandpoint. From there, it will take the winding and scenic Highway 200 into Montana to it's ultimate destination: Great Falls, Mont. 

The Idaho Transportation Department told BW the mega-load could move as early as today or Sunday, but the Coeur d'Alene Press reports this morning that the mega-loads probably won't reach Sandpoint until Wednesday, Aug. 13. IDT awarded the permits on Aug. 8 allowing the rig to travel from 10 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. for the next five days. The permit can be extended if travel takes longer than expected.

Controversy has flared up around the mega-loads on every route they've taken, though, and this one is no different.

"The taxpayer-funded agency should not even consider allowing such a heavy load to cross this almost two-mile-long bridge, especially during the Aug. 7-17 Festival at Sandpoint series of musical concerts, one of the largest tourist events each year in the area," said the climate change organization Wild Idaho Rising Tide on its blog.