Bad weather will keep megaload out of Idaho for another night

December 21, 2013 

The megaload of refinery equipment crawling across Oregon will not cross the Snake River into Idaho until at least Sunday night or Monday morning.

The 382-foot-long load made it as far as Vale, Ore., but will spend another night in Malheur County because of the winter weather, said Reed Hollinshead of the Idaho Transportation Department.

"I heard it will not move tonight from Vale, due to continued snowy conditions," Hollinshead said.

The 450-ton load had been expected to leave Oregon late Saturday and enter Idaho near the Homedale area on Idaho 19. Friday's snow kept the load idle on Friday night.

Protestors have delayed the load's progress across Oregon. Sixteen people from Oregon, Washington, California and Alaska were arrested in John Day, Ore., on charges of disorderly conduct.

Omega Morgan, the Hillsboro, Ore., company moving the load to the tar sands of Alberta, Canada, expects further protests in Idaho, company spokeswoman Holly Zander told the Associated Press earlier.

Protestors have said burning tar sands for energy contributes to climate change.

The Idaho permit, issued Friday, allows the load to travel in the state between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. The load will not move on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day and will begin traveling again at 10 p.m. Thursday.

Zander said her company expects it will take six or seven days to move through Idaho, but that the plans could change depending on the weather. The load won't travel if visibility is less than 500 feet.

The route includes a short distance on Interstate 84 near Mountain Home and eventually crosses into Montana at Lost Trail Pass on U.S. Highway 93.

The giant heat exchanger for a piece of water purification equipment was manufactured in Portland, barged up the Columbia River, and is traveling on a huge truck through eastern Oregon, Idaho, and Montana into Alberta, Canada.

Last month a judge blocked megaloads shipments through northern Idaho on scenic U.S. Highway 12 from Lewiston to Missoula, Mont. But the Morgan Omega shipment isn't taking that route.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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