Roadblocks stymie massive oilsands load

A truck pulling a massive load of oilsands equipment to Fort McMurray was allowed back on an Idaho highway Monday, but only to travel another 12 kilometres.
The Imperial Oil test module is shown here on U.S. Highway 12, in Lewiston, Idaho on Apr. 11, 2011. (Kyle Mills/Lewiston Tribune/Associated Press)

A truck pulling a massive load of oilsands equipment to Fort McMurray stuck on an Idaho highway Monday was granted permission to enter Montana Monday, 12 kilometres up the road.

Imperial Oil is moving a test load three storeys tall, eight metres wide, and 245 tons — the heaviest load ever moved by road in northern Idaho.

A couple of mishaps early in the trek has left the load idling on a roadside turnout in Idaho for the past week. The load hit a tree, then delayed traffic longer than permitted before causing a power failure when it snapped a utility pole guy wire.

On Monday a Montana judge allowed the truck to enter and park in Montana so the trucking contractor could complete its permit applications.

Enviromentalists want more studies

Imperial Oil wants to haul dozens of similar loads from a port on the Columbia-Snake River system, across Idaho and into Montana, before turning north to the Kearl Oil Sands project in northern Alberta.

Environmental groups are trying to block the loads.

They want more study on what impact the road construction necessary to move the loads will have on the scenic corridor known for its wildlife and recreation.

Idaho must still give permission for the truck to go to Montana.

Once there, the rig will be parked in Montana on private property at the LoLo Hot Springs resort.