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Mega-loads Already Hitting Snags, Suspended

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A plan to route building-sized pieces of mining and refinery equipment through the Nez Perce reservation, among other tribal lands and environmentally sensitive areas, to the Alberta oil sands in Canada is already running into trouble.

The first mega-load to depart Lewiston only made it 73 miles east to Kooskia before being suspended by the Idaho Transportation Department over delays and safety concerns. One such load, a truck carrying refinery equipment, had trouble negotiating a sharp curve. A snowy forecast threatened to strand the load in Kooskia for several days as the Idaho Transportation Department told ConocoPhillips to submit a new plan before any more shipments could leave Lewiston.

Mega-loads weigh 140-tons and travel on 210-foot-long trucks with 96 tires. Their route would take them within 50 feet of the site of the Nez Perce’s birthplace. The Nez Perce and other tribes, as well as environmental groups, have been fighting the plan to send the loads along this route for months. Now the plan could be snagged on its own lack of feasibility.

Read more on mega-load shipments here and here.