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North Idaho Homeowners Uneasy About Lakeside ‘Megaload’ Route

Jessica Robinson
The proposed route would take three megaloads on Coeur d'Alene Lake Drive, known for its lakeside homes and popular recreations areas.

The huge piece of oil equipment winding its way through eastern Oregon is expected to cross over into Idaho early Saturday.

Meanwhile, another so-called “megaload” project has emerged farther north. And the proposed extra-heavy haul is making some homeowners nervous in a north Idaho resort town.

Idaho transportation officials invited the public to check out the plans at a meeting in Coeur d'Alene. The shipper Mammoet wants to move three megaloads early next year. They're headed for a diesel refinery in Great Falls, Mont.

The part that brought out most people is a 5-mile stretch along Lake Coeur d'Alene. That's where the nearly 500-foot-long truck would parallel a bike path, and pass by a boat launch and several popular migrating bird viewing areas.

Scott Bullock recently moved into a house along that very stretch of road.

“My biggest concern would be is this the first of many, you know, once they have this access to the highway, is Coeur d'Alene Lake Drive going to become the big load roundabout?” Bullock said.

The plan involves building a temporary on-ramp that would take the megaload back onto the interstate. The shipping company is proposing the lakeside detour to avoid a bridge that may not be able to handle the weight of the 800-ton load.

Inland Northwest Correspondent Jessica Robinson reports from the Northwest News Network's bureau in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. From the politics of wolves to mining regulation to small town gay rights movements, Jessica covers the economic, demographic and environmental trends that are shaping places east of the Cascades.