Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Tale of Two Press Releases

A truck driver, traveler, or local citizen trying to make plans around the megaloads has their work cut out for them. Trying to figure out whether or not a megaload is actually going to be on the road on any given night is a struggle. Exxon’s Highway 12 website has a professional look but it lacks any real information on the status of the loads. The last information updated on the site is from April 12th. There have been numerous news stories since the 12th stating nights the Exxon Test Module planned to move but never any mention of them on Exxon's Highway 12 website. The most consistent way to find out if Exxon is moving it’s test module has been through ITD press releases.

Yet, ITD doesn’t seem that sure of what’s going on either. In a press release from earlier today ITD stated that Exxon was moving the test module tonight and that Mammoet had submitted a plan of recommendations to reduce the risk of further issues. Mr. Hoff is quoted as saying that the changes made by Mammoet will “help avoid any further . . . delays.” Yet late tonight ITD released a second shorter statement contradicting their first one. The Exxon Test Module was not going to move tonight due to concerns over power lines in Kamiah. Mammoet must have missed the power lines in Kamiah when they were making their recommendations to ITD. What else has Mammoet missed?

Here are the two press releases with a few significant lines highlighted:

#1: ExxonMobil test shipment resumes travel Tuesday night

BOISE - An ExxonMobil test shipment will resume travel on U.S. 12 tonight at 10 PDT after the Idaho Transportation Department accepted the company's corrective action plan, the Idaho Transportation Department announced.
The over-sized test load has been parked at milepost 61 about 12 miles west of Kooskia since April 12 after striking a guy wire above the highway during the first night of a scheduled three-night transport to the Montana state line.
The transportation department required ExxonMobil and its contract hauler, Mammoet, to submit an incident report and make recommendations on how to reduce the risk of further issues.
Changes made include:
Additional verifications of all overhead utilities from milepost 61 to the Montana state line to ensure adequate clearance;
Raising a power distribution line crossing the highway at milepost 75;
Additional verifications of all overhead utilities from the Port of Lewiston to milepost 61
Lead escort vehicles will watch for overhanging tree branches in addition to other overhead obstructions.
"The additional precautions will improve safety and help avoid any further problems or delays," said Doral Hoff, the transportation department maintenance engineer in Lewiston.
The test shipment will travel:
Tuesday night/Wednesday morning from milepost 61 to milepost 139.
Wednesday night/Thursday morning from milepost 139 to the Montana state line at milepost 174, then 7.5 miles into Montana. It will stop at a restaurant parking lot.

#2: Tonight's planned U.S. 12 ExxonMobil test shipment postponed

BOISE - An ExxonMobil test shipment scheduled to resume travel tonight on U.S. 12 was postponed, the Idaho Transportation Department announced.
Concerns about the load clearing two power lines in the Kamiah area prompted representatives of ITD, ExxonMobil and power provider Avista to agree to postpone the move.
"We want to be 100 percent certain there is adequate clearance and that the load moves safely," said Doral Hoff, the ITD maintenance engineer in Lewiston.

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