Thursday, October 27, 2011

Superloads running through town are on their way to Alberta tar sands

Posted By on Thu, Oct 27, 2011 at 10:18 AM

A spokesman for Imperial Oil has confirmed that superloads running through Spokane are carrying oil-sand mining equipment to Alberta. About ten oversized loads have already come through Spokane, Jon Harding says.

In all, there will reportedly be 250 loads, weighing 200,000 pounds and will reach higher than 16 feet. The loads are only permitted to move between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m., so many drivers will likely never see them.

Since the spring of 2010, the phrase “megaloads” has been an item of hot debate in Idaho. Massive 100-ton trucks are carrying ExxonMobil/Imperial Oil mining equipment to the Kearl Oil Sands mining project in Alberta. At first, protesters worried that widening the scenic Highway 12 to allow for the huge trucks to travel on it would turn the bucolic road into a busy trucking route. But protesters soon turned their focus on to what they described as massive environmental degradation caused by the mining to the north.

Harding says the shipping has been approved with the state department of transportation and the city of Spokane. They will be escorted by the Washington State Patrol. Roads will not be close.

“There is an agreement with the city of Spokane to cover of any damages to the roads caused by our shipments,” Harding says.

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About The Author

Daniel Walters

A lifelong Spokane native, Daniel Walters is the Inlander's senior investigative reporter. But he also reports on a wide swath of other topics, including business, education, real estate development, land use, and other stories throughout North Idaho and Spokane County.He's reported on deep flaws in the Washington...