Tue September 20, 2022 – West Edition #20
Richards Transportation is delivering wind turbine blades from Idaho to Canada, with the largest loads measuring up to 325 feet long and weighing 137,000 pounds. (Photo by Idaho Department of Transportation)
More than 80 oversized loads have left the port of Lewiston bound for Canada, a haul trip that will take place over the next 2.5 months, with the first load already transported. Richards Transportation is delivering wind turbine blades to Jenner, Alta., with the largest loads measuring up to 325 feet long and weighing 137,000 pounds.
“This first load is the only one currently planned and will help refine transportation plans,” said operations engineer Jared Hopkins. “After the first run, we expect operations to increase in frequency.”
Nine shipments will depart each week in groups of three from the Port of Lewiston to travel north on US Highway 95 to Coeur d’Alene before heading east on Interstate 90 to Montana. Three loads are expected to leave every other day, with each individual load leaving approximately 30 minutes apart.
Pilot cars will escort each load during the overnight journey, with flagmen in place to close the following intersections:
- State Highway 128 and US-12/US-95 in Lewiston;
- US-95 and Lincoln Avenue/Walnut Way in Coeur d’Alene; and
- I-90 and US-95 interchange in Coeur d’Alene.
The transit company arranged a new on-ramp to help oversize loads turn from northbound US-95 to eastbound I-90 in Coeur d’Alene. This ramp will not be open to other traffic. Highway traffic will be slowed by pilot cars to allow each load to merge.
Given the length of the loads, shipping to and through Moscow will be particularly slow and will require significant closures.
“This section of US-95 is windy and narrow and loads won’t be able to make those turns without taking up some of the oncoming lane, so we’re closing it,” Hopkins said.
“Given the extreme length of these loads and the narrow stretch of highway in Moscow, the transport company will move each load in step with ground staff to ensure that nothing next to the road is damaged,” added Hopkins.