Oil company delays test load for U.S. Highway 12 again

March 26, 2011

BOISE – An Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil oversized test load scheduled to travel Monday on U.S. Highway 12 will be delayed for a second time.

The oil company requested and received an extension from the Idaho Transportation Department to ship the test load April 4.

The test load, which is the same dimensions as the oil company’s largest oversized load it wants to send on U.S. 12, was originally scheduled to begin the journey to Montana on March 7.

The test shipment is 24 feet wide, 208 feet long, 30 feet tall and weighs about 508,000 pounds. Oil company officials said the test shipment is needed to detect any potential problems with navigating the curvy highway.

The trip is expected to take three nights, stopping at Kooskia the first night, 23 miles west of Powell the second and in Montana on the third night.

The first delay was requested by oil company officials, who said equipment needed to haul the megaloads had not arrived at the Port of Lewiston on time.

Mammoet, the contractor hired by ExxonMobil to ship the loads, is using the time during the second delay to provide additional training for flaggers and pilot-car drivers.

A permit was issued by ITD earlier this year for ExxonMobil to send a test load on U.S. 12 from the Port of Lewiston to Montana.

The test load was to be the first of more than 100 oversized loads the oil company wanted to haul across Idaho on U.S. 12 – each carrying a Korean-manufactured module bound for a processing plan at the Kearl Oil Sands in Alberta, Canada.

Recently, however, the oil company submitted a travel plan for the transport of 60 oversized loads to travel north from Lewiston through the Palouse on U.S. Highway 95 before connecting with Interstate 90 to head east to Montana.