Idaho judge halts wide loads on Highway 12

Well, at least a delay on the oil company monopolization of U.S. Highway 12 across north central Idaho. The suit was brought by aggrieved local residents such as Peter Grubb, a guide and lodge owner on Highway 12. Advocates for the West represented the plaintiffs.

IDOT was clearly violating its own regulations in issuing these permits to the oil companies, probably under intense pressure from Governor Otter who thinks this is the route to economic improvement in the state’s pathetic economy.

Idaho judge halts wide loads on Highway 12. By Todd Dvorak. Bloomberg/Business Week



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  1. Cody Coyote Avatar
    Cody Coyote

    I never thought would ever say anything nice about Governor Otter of Idaho , but he did demand the oil companies post a $ 10 million reclamation bond in advance for any likely damage to Hwy 12 from the monster trucks . And ExxonMobil and/or ConocoPhillips did so, without so much as a flinch or bucksnort.

    Maybe someone can splice in the details on that. Was that as compliant as it looks , or just a cheap ” cost of doing business” appeasement ?

    As for IDOT, Interstate Commerce Clauses allow for any legal use of the public’s highways and byways. The 300 ton loads might be a tad over the weight limit, dontcha think ?

    The cargo those trucks are carrying are giant oil field contraptions made in South Korea , almost 30 feet in diameter. They were barged up the Columbia River to Lewiston , which surprisingly is a bona fide seaport even though it’s 600 miles from the ocean.

    I have to ask if it is feasible to send them through the Panama Canal instead, and up the Mississippi River as far as they can go, before trucking them over the flatlands through Iowa, the Dakotas, Saskatchewan and eventually their Alberta destination.

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar

    Cody Coyote,

    As far as I can tell, the big bottleneck is the height of the contraptions — 30 feet. Interstate highways just can’t accommodate that with overpasses at about 18-19 feet. Highway 12 in Idaho and Montana non-interstates might be relatively narrow, but there is not so much overhead structure. I guess most of it is telephone and powerlines here and there.

    1. Salle Avatar

      As a former truck operator of standard-sized over the road trucks… up to 80ft long, 104in wide (for 15 years) and having traveled US 12 along that route numerous times in a car I can say with authority that the route they intend to haul those gargantuan items is so unrealistic that I can hardly believe they actually think it could be done without harm to the roadway or the surrounding area. But then, we are talking about Idaho where the rules of the road are as out of sync with the rest of the world as their collective mindset about wildlife and wild lands… we’re talking about something entirely outside IDF&G/legislative insanity about wildlife here, though…

      It wouldn’t just be the integrity of the pavement ~ road surface ~ but the roadbed itself, including culverts etc., and the rock walls and trees that line this corridor ~ which is barely 24ft wide in many places… hell they don’t allow regular truck traffic for these reasons on more sturdy roads at 80,000 lbs. These people who think this is a viable route for such cargo are either on drugs or just plain out of touch with life on earth. The drug of choice here appears to be the almighty dollar…. Of course it’s also another slap at the Nez Perce whose land they are trashing along the way. The legislature hates them and tries to damage them at every perceived opportunity. They seem to have to go to court about once every other year, if not more often, to protect basic rights agreed to in the original Treaty of 1855 for heaven’s sake.

      I like Cody Coyote’s idea much better, that route is far more realistic with less damage to features along the route and a shorter transport timeline. Perhaps the authorities in other states told them to take a hike….

      You gotta wonder what hell they are thinking, if they are thinking at all.

    2. Salle Avatar

      And actually, most of the overpasses on US 12 are more like 14ft max. Most semi trailers are 13ft 6in or 13ft 8in for the older “lettuce trailers” which I don’t think they even make anymore. This is especially true along the older US Highway system.


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Ralph Maughan