Sunday, July 17, 2011 | Associated Press
MOSCOW – The first of two oversized loads of ExxonMobil refinery equipment set to leave the Port of Lewiston over a five-day span has started moving in northern Idaho.
The shipment left at dusk Friday and went through Moscow on its way to connect with Interstate 90 near Coeur d’Alene en route to the oil sands of southern Alberta, Canada.
The Idaho Transportation Department on Wednesday issued permits giving the company five days to ship along U.S. Highway 95. It was thought the load would start moving at 10 p.m., and it’s earlier departure Friday surprised some area residents.
“It was the regular traffic coming through,” said Moscow resident David Hall. “It didn’t look like a particularly big load at all.”
Opposition has forced the oil company to scale down some of the loads and consider alternatives to using U.S. Highway 12 as its preferred route for so-called megaloads, which block both lanes.
In recent months, ExxonMobil has spent millions of dollars to reduce the size of more than a dozen of the modules delivered to the Port of Lewiston last year. Earlier this month, state highway officials approved permits to truck the smaller loads north along Highway 95 through Moscow.
The first load moving is 17 feet wide, 14 feet high, 81 feet long and weighs 69,550 pounds.
Company spokesman Pius Rolheiser said the load is expected to reach Montana today on Interstate 90 at Lookout Pass.