Megaload inches toward Idaho

csewell@idahostatesman.comDecember 16, 2013 

A 450-ton megaload making its way to Idaho made progress over the weekend, covering about 60 miles from Friday night through Monday morning.

The load left Umatilla, Ore. on Dec. 2. On Monday morning, two weeks later, it arrived in John Day, about 165 miles from Umatilla.

Weather and narrow, winding mountain roads are slowing its progress.

If weather and travel conditions permit, the load will leave John Day Monday night and travel east on U.S. 26 about 26 miles to Austin Junction, according to Oregon Dept. of Transportation.

The 380-foot-long load of oil refinery equipment still has about 150 miles to go before entering Idaho near Homedale. Its Idaho route includes Idaho 78 through Marsing, Grand View and Hammett to Interstate 84. It will briefly travel west on I-84 to Idaho 20 and then go through Fairfield and Arco before heading north to Salmon and then traveling U.S. 93 and the Lost Trail pass into Montana. Omega Morgan is hauling the equipment to the tar sands oil project in northern Alberta, Canada.

On Monday, Idaho Transportation Department said it had incorrectly stated the distance of the megaload's Idaho route and its permit cost. The Idaho route is 488 miles, not 355 miles as ITD stated Friday in a press release. That figure was based on a different route, not the one being permitted, said ITD. Based on the increased mileage, the permit and road-use fee ITD is charging Omega Morgan is $7,706, not $5,634 as ITD previously stated.

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