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Megaloads will roll

The megaloads will roll up U.S. 12, from Lewiston to the Lolo Pass (and then beyond), on Monday.

To no great surprise, Idaho Transportation Department Director Brian Ness went along with his hearing officer’s report and signed off on the shipments. From the department’s press release:

“I am convinced the record showed the loads can be moved safely, without damage to the roads and bridges and with minimal disruption to traffic and emergency services,” Ness said. “Every argument has been heard and considered. We can no longer delay this process.”

Ness said he based his decision on four key factors:

– Administrative process was properly followed

– All sides received a fair opportunity to present their case

– An independent hearing officer recommended the permits be issued

– No compelling reasons were found in the interveners’ appeal to overturn the hearing officer’s recommendation

Two permits will be issued today to transport two loads beginning Monday, Jan. 24, if weather conditions allow. The permits can be extended if weather does not allow the transport.

“I will not comment further on this case because litigation is possible and because of the similarities of the pending request from Imperial Oil/ExxonMobil to transport oversized loads on U.S. 12,” Ness said.

Litigation is certainly likely, as are the shipments from other oil companies – hundreds of them, eventually.

Procedurally, that puts an end to the matter. Now, political and other efforts may come into play.

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