Sunday, August 1, 2010

Conoco Phillips and the "15 Minute Rule"

The following information, derived from a close study of Conoco Phillip’s original travel plan, along with an examination of road conditions and measurements of turnouts along the route, demonstrates that the ConocoPhillips shipments can not meet ITD’s “15-minute rule” for traffic delays, much less the 10-minute rule of Idaho law.

ITD has stated publicly and repeatedly that no permit will be issued if CP (and Imperial Oil) can't meet the 15-minute rule.

Idaho statutes state the following:
“Overlegal permits will not normally be issued for movements which cannot allow for the passage of traffic as provided in Chapter 11, except under special circumstances when an interruption of low volume traffic may be permitted (not to exceed ten (10) minutes) or when adequate detours are available“

Example Where Meeting the "15 Rule" is a Mathematical Impossiblity

We are confident ConocoPhillips will be unable to meet ITD’s 15-minute requirement on numerous stretches of Highway 12 in Idaho. Here is one detailed example we calculated.

2. Mile 116.0 – 120.3 — a distance of 4.3 miles

In order to cross the Fish Creek Bridge, the Emmert International transportation plan again calls for temporarily adding an extra dolly under the load, which extends axle width to 21 feet. EI further states, “travel with these helper dollies installed will be very slow and the turning ability of the transporter would be very restricted…” A rock wall at 116.6 on an inside curve, according to EI, will require the load to “swing wide.” An extensive rock face close to the fog line adds a similar requirement at Mile 117.0. A tight turn radius appears at 119, with a similar curve nearby. The load must then go through deceleration as it approaches the bridge at Mile 120, cross the bridge at a maximum of 5 mph, and proceed the .3 miles remaining to the turnout, presumably at that same speed. The likely speeds for this stretch look like this:

• 1.5 minutes acceleration to 10 mph over .25 miles
• 21 minutes traversing 3.5 miles at an average speed of 10 mph
• 1.5 minutes deceleration
• 6 minutes crossing bridge at 5 mph and traveling to turnout
• 1 minute to clear traffic or maneuver completely off the highway at Milepost 120.3

At an average speed of 10 mph, projected traffic delay time totals 31 minutes. Because of the frequent partial deceleration and acceleration caused by 4 sharp curves, frequent rock faces and narrow roadbed, achieving an average speed of 10 mph on this stretch is highly optimistic. At an average speed of 7.5 mph, traffic delay time would be 38 minutes. Further, the EI transportation plan notes the rock face at MP 117.0 has no turnout on the corner, so this location could easily be one that requires “hand crabbing.” If so, a realistic prediction for this stretch is likely 48 minutes plus.

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