Friday, February 4, 2011

Big Rigs: Lengthy delay, citizen disruption and more

Posted By on Fri, Feb 4, 2011 at 1:18 PM

The second night in ConocoPhillips' controversial big rig transportation project on Highway 12 was punctuated by a number of unforeseen incidents—at least, unforeseen for supporters of the heavy haul—and the oil company is now being asked by the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) to submit a new shipping plan before any of its other oversized loads leaves the Port of Lewiston.

ITD's request came in response to a 59-minute traffic delay caused by the hulking ConocoPhillips load as workers from Emmert International experienced difficulty navigating it around a sharp curve on Highway 12 early Thursday morning. According to Idaho state law, oversized loads are not allowed to create a traffic delay greater than 15 minutes. When the load reaches Montana, that time allowance falls to 10 minutes.

While those opposed to the heavy haul may be celebrating the first manifestation of their predictions, the organized opposition movement in Idaho did receive a little negative press today. According to Lewiston-based television news outlet KLEW, Idaho State Police issued a warning to Fighting Goliath co-founder Linwood Laughy Wednesday night to not interfere with the ConocoPhillips load. KLEW reported that Laughy "failed to comply" with directions from the pilot cars when asked not to stop his vehicle in traffic. It's the only issue with heavy haul opposition ITD has reported this week.

The load is now sitting in Kooskia, with transportation temporarily postponed due to predicted snowfall over the next few days. As a result, local opposition forces at All Against the Haul have cancelled a demonstration originally scheduled for Saturday at 1 p.m. at Lolo Pass, with plans to reschedule once the load continues its trip. Look for them downtown tonight during First Friday. They'll be painting faces, handing out stickers and hosting a book signing with Rick Bass, co-author of the anti big-rigs book The Heart of the Monster.

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