Imperial Oil plans to send test module Monday night

By Elaine Williams of the Tribune
April 2, 2011

An Imperial Oil test module is scheduled to leave Lewiston at 10 p.m. Monday, according to a news release the Idaho Transportation Department issued Friday.

But the Montana Department of Transportation couldn’t verify Friday it would allow the module to enter Montana. Imperial Oil has indicated the module won’t leave Lewiston until it has permission to cross into Montana, according to an e-mail from ITD spokesman Adam Rush.

The test module is 24 feet wide, 30 feet high and 208 feet long, the dimensions of the largest load Imperial Oil has proposed shipping across Idaho on U.S. Highway 12. It weighs 508,000 pounds.

It’s scheduled to reach Kooskia in the first segment of its journey and be on the road another evening before entering Montana at about 2:30 a.m. Thursday.

The megaload will be accompanied by Idaho State Police, be limited to travel between 10 p.m. and 5:30 a.m. and be required to pull over at least every 15 minutes to allow traffic to pass.

Imperial Oil hopes the test module will go without incident and demonstrate U.S. 12 is a viable road for extra big cargo.

The permits Imperial Oil is seeking in Montana would clear the way for the test module to go about 71/2 miles into the state to a private site at Lolo Hot Springs, said Jim Lynch, director of MDT.

The state is requiring Imperial Oil to construct pullouts so similar-sized shipments could meet requirements about letting cars pass them on their way to the Kearl Oil Sands in Alberta, Canada, Lynch said.

But no improvements are needed for a megaload to comply with state requirements to reach Lolo Hot Springs, Lynch said.

Williams may be contacted at
[email protected] or (208) 848-2261.