VALE — The third expected megaload moved through Vale without fuss Wednesday night, and drew a number of spectators at the turn in town and along the route to enjoy the scene.
The load, which is on its way to Canada, then headed east on Highway 20-26 to Clark Boulevard, where it turned south to connect with state Highway 201 spur and then traveled into Idaho reaching Marsing. It will now travel southeast on Idaho Highway 78. It will eventually cross into Montana on U.S. Highway 93 over Lost Trail Pass.
Tom Davis, Oregon Department of Transportation operations coordinator, said this megaload convoy left the Port of Umatilla Feb. 11, traveling the same route as the previous loads, from I-84 to U.S. Highway 395, from Highway 395 to U.S. 26, and from U.S. 26 to Vale.
The day Omega Morgan, a Hillsboro-based shipping company, started moving the load, individuals and an environmental organization filed a petition to stop the load by seeking a review of the permit that was issued by ODOT. The Idaho Department of Transportation issued its travel permit for load last Friday.
Davis said the load had been parked at Eldorado Pass, at the Baker/Malheur County line, west of Ironside for an extra day because of weather conditions, but left there Thursday afternoon. This load’s permit allowed the convoy to move during the day as needed. The load had to slow up because it was not allow to go through Vale until after 8 p.m, Davis said.
By then, several cars were parked around the intersection of Washington and Glenn streets, where U.S. 26 and U.S. 20 intersect.
“It is the most exciting thing that has happened,” Dale Sanchez said. “We’ve got people from Ontario, Harper, Willowcreek.”
“I was on my way home,” said Sam Buhrig, adding that she had been unaware the load was coming through town. “I just caught it. It was cool.”
As it went through the intersection, the megaload was again moved into the westbound lanes to cross the Malheur River.
“This is the same trailer that was used on the first load,” Davis said. Unlike, the first two convoys, there were three pusher trucks on this one to get it over the passes.
East of Vale, the load was halted by the truck scales to let a long line of westbound traffic by, as well as a few eastbound vehicles.