ONTARIO — A presentation about a megaload that is planned to roll through Eastern Oregon is scheduled for Monday at the Eastern Oregon Area Commission on Transportation. The meeting will begin at 11 a.m. at the ODOT District 14 headquarters, 1390 S.E. First Ave., Ontario.
A representative of Omega Morgan, the Hillsboro-based heavy-haul company that is moving the cargo, is scheduled to give a presentation at the meeting.
The massive oil refinery equipment is headed to the tar sands project in western Canada. The first of the so-called megaloads could begin making its way from the Port of Umatilla in Oregon either today or Monday before crossing the Snake River and into Idaho’s southwestern corner next week, a release from the Oregon Department of Transportation stated.
Omega Morgan is hauling water purification equipment and parts headed for Canada. Total size of the transport vehicle and cargo will be 380 feet long, 23 feet wide and 19 feet tall, with the cargo, itself, being 96 feet long. Total weight of the load is projected by the company to be around 900,000 pounds, including load and vehicles, distributed over 27 axles. Sixteen axles will carry 47,750 pounds per axle, with the rest to carry 15,000 to 22,384 pounds.
After it leaves the Port of Umatilla, the oversized load will take a week or more to reach Malheur County and southwest Idaho.
The procession will travel to Vale from Mount Vernon on U.S. Highway 26, east on Highway 20-26 to Clark Boulevard, south on Clark to Oregon Highway 201, west of Nyssa and then take Highway 201 to the Oregon-Idaho state line, picking up Idaho Highway 19 to Homedale.
The load’s final leg in Idaho is now proposed along U.S. Highway 93, up Lost Trail Pass, with an elevation of 7,014 feet, and into southwestern Montana.
From Homedale, the load is expected to begin the Idaho leg of its journey after the Thanksgiving holiday, said Holly Zander, spokeswoman for Omega Morgan.
Idaho highway officials are studying a map that takes the load across the desert southwest of Boise before veering northeast to U.S. Highway 20 south of Bellevue, north on U.S. Highway 28 along the Lemhi River before merging on to U.S. Highway 93 through the town of Salmon before arriving in Montana.
Transportation officials in Montana say they have not yet received a complete application from Omega Morgan detailing a proposed route.
Oregon highway officials have already issued a travel advisory for the shipment, while engineers in Idaho are analyzing the route and potential impacts to infrastructure and public safety.
“We’re in the process of doing bridge analysis for the shipment,” said Adam Rush, spokesman for the Idaho Transportation Department. “We expect to have all of that wrapped up next week.”
Omega Morgan is the same company that moved one megaload shipment across U.S. Highway 12 earlier this year en route to the oil sands project in Alberta, Canada. But a second load was blocked by a federal judge who ruled in favor of the Nez Perce Tribe and environmentalists opposed to megaloads moving through tribal lands and a two-lane roadway that passes through a federally protected wild and scenic river corridor.
The load moving through Oregon is heavier and longer than the Omega Morgan shipment that chugged across northern Idaho and into Montana in August, Rush said.
Like the first shipments, the freight proposed to move through Oregon and southern Idaho includes more components of a water purification system essential to the tar sands project.
This time, however, GE and Omega Morgan have mapped a route will take more time in hopes of drawing little or no opposition.
The shipments through Oregon are cleared to move only at night, between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., and will pull over every 5 to 7 miles to accommodate traffic.
Two additional loads are expected to travel the same route next month, Zander said.
If you go
A presentation about the megaload is scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday at the Eastern Oregon Area Commission on Transportation at the ODOT District 14 headquarters, 1390 S.E. First Ave., Ontario.