Test module set to move again

Imperial Oil’s test megaload was scheduled to resume its journey on U.S. Highway 12 early today

By Elaine Williams of the Tribune
April 21, 2011

An Imperial Oil test shipment was slated to resume its trip on U.S. Highway 12 at 1 a.m. today.

The 490,000-pound transport has been parked five miles west of Kamiah for more than a week after it hit an Avista support wire and caused an electrical outage, according to the utility. It was in the first part of a trip from Lewiston to 7.5 miles inside the Montana border at the time of the incident.

Avista and Mammoet, the hauler Imperial Oil hired, have reviewed where power lines are on U.S. 12 since the incident, and identified new precautions.

A small number of customers in the Kamiah area were expected to experience an outage of 10 to 15 minutes as power lines in three locations this morning were de-energized as the three-story-tall rig passed underneath them.

The lines are located near the Nez Perce Tribal Casino, Clear Creek Fish Hatchery and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“The Nez Perce Tribal Casino requested its outage begin at 1 a.m. Avista has notified all of its customers that will be impacted,” according to a news release from the Idaho Transportation Department.

The test shipment was expected to reach mile post 94, 80 miles west of the Montana border, by 5:30 a.m. today. It is scheduled to begin the final part of its trip this evening and stop at a private parking lot at Lolo Hot Springs, 7.5 miles inside the Montana border, early Friday morning.

The test module takes up two lanes of traffic and is supposed to pull over every 15 minutes to allow vehicles to pass. It has the same weight and dimensions as the largest of more than 100 modules Imperial Oil wants to send on U.S. 12.

So far ITD has only given permission for the test module. Imperial Oil hopes the journey will show U.S. 12 is a feasible route for extra big cargo.

The Korean-made modules for a Kearl Oil Sands processing plant in Alberta, Canada, are barged to Lewiston, where they are transferred onto trailers before they hit the highway.

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