Many Idahoans are writing to Governor Butch Otter expressing concerns about the Port of Lewiston's and ExxonMobil's plans to turn Idaho's Northwest Passage Scenic Byway and All-American Road - Highway 12 from Lewiston to Lolo Pass - into a permanent route for the transport of giant industrial equipment. The loads in question are wider than both lanes of traffic on this 2-lane roadway and will block the road completely when they are moving. The travel plans call for the 210-foot-long tractor/trailer units to pull off on "traffic clearance stations" approximately every 3-6 miles in order to limit traffic delays, which by regulation cannot be more than 15 minutes in duration. ExxonMobil has identified 55 such pullout locations, and hence intends to have approximately 55 traffic delays along the 174 mile route.
Yet, here's what Governor Otter would like us to believe about these shipments, quoted from the standard response from his office, repeated for days now to those who've inquired about the shipments: "Under ITD's current guidelines, the shipper could delay traffic and close a small section of U.S. 12 for up to 15 minutes at a time for each load, and do this no more than two times over the entire route for each load."
Does our governor really think the rural people of north central Idaho will believe that 210-foot-long, 3-story high, 24-foot wide truck/trailer/loads will only hold us up on curvy U.S. 12 twice?!
His repeated statement demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the size of these behemoths and of the nature of the highway and also a lack of concern for the safety and well being of the rural people of Highway 12. We should all become informed about what the governor, the Port of Lewiston and ExxonMobil are planning to do with our scenic byway and then voice our objections.
If you want accurate and thorough information on this pending nightmare for Idahoans and, by the way, for our travel and tourism industry, go to http://www.fightinggoliath.org/