Mega-loads Expected to Roll Tonight


LEWISTON—Today began with a clear, crisp sunrise over Idaho’s Clearwater River. By this time tomorrow, the much-debated mega-loads are expected to finally begin rolling.

Sometime around 10 p.m. tonight, crews from Emmert International will begin the final and most controversial leg of their effort to move four giant coke drums from the Port of Lewiston across North Central Idaho and on to Billings, Mont. The equipment, manufactured in Japan, was transported 5,200 miles by ocean freighter, and then 300 miles by river barge to Lewiston.


For the last several months, opponents have tried every legal avenue to halt the mega-loads from rolling across U.S. Highway 12. But after hearings in Idaho District Court, State Supreme Court and then a three-day session before a special hearing officer, the Idaho Transportation Department issued permits to ConocoPhillips to move the coke drums to its Billings refinery.

The travel plan calls for the mega-loads to roll between 10 p.m. and 5:30 a.m. The first load is expected to take four days to travel from Lewiston to Lolo Pass at the Idaho-Montana border. Only then will the next loads roll. Once the second load hits the border, Emmert will transfer the equipment to different trailers for the remaining 21-day trip to Billings. Then, Emmert will bring the rigs back to the Port of Lewiston and repeat the process for the remaining two loads.

Here's a map of the route.