A massive piece of refinery equipment will be traveling through Northwest Montana in the next few weeks, according to the Montana Department of Transportation.
The so-called megaload is destined for the Calumet Refinery in Great Falls and will travel through Troy, Libby, Kalispell, Whitefish, Columbia Falls and Bigfork.
The refinery equipment is 21-feet wide and nearly 17-feet tall and is coming from Idaho. The megaload’s maximum gross weight can reach 1.08 million pounds. Its maximum permitted length is 400 feet, 5 inches.
According to MDT, the piece of equipment will enter the state on Montana Highway 200 west of Thompson Falls. From there it will travel north on Montana Highway 56 to Troy where it will turn east on U.S. Highway 2 and travel through Libby, on its way to Kalispell.
According to Dwane Williams of MDT’s motor carriers division, the megaload will move in seven different stages and will travel at night to minimize disruptions. The move could begin as early as Aug. 18.
“It’ll happen in the middle of the night but drivers can expect delays of at least 10 minutes,” Williams said.
In Kalispell, the megaload will turn north on Meridian Road and join up with U.S. Highway 93 near Hutton Ranch, before going north toward Whitefish. From there it will turn east on Montana Highway 40 and travel through Columbia Falls. Just east of Columbia Falls, it will turn south on Montana Highway 206 and travel to Montana Highway 35. From there it will travel through Creston and turn east on Montana Highway 83 just north of Bigfork. From there it will take the Swan Highway to the junction with Montana Highway 200 that will take it the rest of the way to Vaughn and Great Falls.
MDT encourages travelers to seek out other routes if they believe the mega load will delay them. The piece of equipment will be moved by Bigge Crane and Rigging Co. with Mountain West Holding Company providing traffic control.
Megaloads have sparked controversy in recent years across the state due to their massive weight and size and their impacts on road infrastructure and environmental corridors.
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