2 disputed ‘megaloads’ arrive on Snake River

LEWISTON, Idaho — Two disputed 255-foot-long water purification units bound for energy projects in Alberta’s oil sands have arrived at a Snake River port in Washington and await possible transport along a mountain corridor through Idaho and Montana.

But the Spokesman Review reported that the ultimate route for the oil gear is unclear, since approval of the oversized “megaload” shipments on U.S. Highway 12 hinges on agreement from the U.S. Forest Service.

A heavy equipment hauler wants the Idaho Transportation Department’s go-ahead for moving the giant units at night. The units are currently at the Port of Wilma, located on the Washington side of the river downstream from Lewiston and Clarkston, Wash.

But the Forest Service is discussing the permitting process with the Idaho Transportation Department. This year, a federal judge gave the Forest Service significant control over the shipments, following a lawsuit by environmental groups who want to block such big loads on grounds they are inappropriate for a route that follows the federally Wild and Scenic-designated Lochsa and Selway rivers.

About 100 miles of the U.S. 12 route pass through the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests, encompassing a number of protected areas. The route lies adjacent to the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Area and crosses the Lolo Trail National Historic Monument, the zigzagging path where early American explorers Lewis and Clark crossed the continent on their journey to the Pacific Ocean.

Previous tar sands-bound megaloads, including those owned by a unit of Exxon Mobil, brought to Lewiston and other ports in the region were originally destined to travel the U.S. 12 route.

But many of those loads were transported via Interstate 90, to the north, following opposition from environmentalists and residents along the highway including in the courts.

These latest shipments, however, are too tall for the I-90 route’s overpasses, according to ITD spokesman Adam Rush.

Each load carrying a water purification unit would be 21 feet wide and weigh some 644,000 pounds, according to the traffic plan submitted to Idaho. The loads would take about four days to cross Idaho, traveling between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.

More in Local News

A customer walks away after buying a hot dog from a vendor on 33rd St and Smith Street near the Everett Station on Friday. The Everett Station District Alliance pictures the area east of Broadway and south of Hewitt Avenue as a future neighborhood and transit hub that could absorb expected population growth. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
How can Everett Station become a vibrant part of city?

A neighborhood alliance focused on long-term revitalization will update the public Tuesday.

Man arrested after police find van full of drugs, cash and guns

An officer on patrol noticed a vehicle by itself in the middle of a WinCo parking lot at 2 a.m.

After work to address issues, Lynnwood gets clean audit

The city has benefited from increased revenues from sales tax.

Bolshevik replaces BS in Eyman’s voters pamphlet statement

The initiative promoter also lost a bid to include a hyperlink to online coverage of the battle.

Man with shotgun confronts man on toilet about missing phone

Police say the victim was doing his business when the suspect barged in and threatened him.

Detectives seek suspect in woman’s homicide

Alisha Michelle Canales-McGuire was shot to death Wednesday at a home south of Paine Field.

Car crashes near Everett after State Patrol pursuit

The driver and a second person in the car suffered injuries.

Smith Island habitat restoration cost to rise $1.2 million

The project is intended to increase survival rates for juvenile chinook salmon.

Jim Mathis, the Vietnam veteran whose Marysville garden was recently featured in The Herald, died Wednesday. Mathis, who suffered from PTSD and cancer, found solace in his beautiful garden. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Vietnam veteran Jim Mathis found peace in his garden

The Marysville man who served two tours died Wednesday after suffering from cancer and PTSD.

Most Read