Friday, July 5, 2013

Will Orofino share the road with megaload haulers?

The Orofino Chamber of Commerce invited business owners and merchants of Orofino to a presentation held by the Omega Morgan Corporation at the Ponderosa Restaurant, June 26.

Omega Morgan specializes in transportation of heavy rigging and machinery, industrial construction and architectural services. The company was founded in 1991 in Hillsboro, OR, and has become a leader in their field throughout the Pacific Northwest. Their slogan is “Doing the Impossible Daily.”

The megaload haulers are anticipating being given the okay to haul water purification vessels via U.S. Hwy. 12 to Canada, which could begin late in July of 2013. Omega Morgan has committed to working with Forest Service and the Idaho Transportation Department to minimize any negative impact to the area.

The loads are 250 feet long, 20 feet in diameter and weigh 600,000 to 640,000 pounds. If approved, the company would like to make 10 such trips between now and January of 2014, with additional projects proposed for 2014.

The company is requesting to transport between the hours of 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. The rigs are required by law to pull over every 15 minutes. The team usually consists of six people, accompanied by a bevy of support personnel. The company will utilize local pilot cars and law enforcement. The transport team will use local hotels, restaurants, fueling stations, grocery and hardware stores and auto supply stores.

John McCalla, CEO and President of Omega Morgan personally greeted each and every person in attendance. He claimed that his company would like to be part of the community as opposed to just passing through.

Most of those in attendance of the meeting were enthusiastic as they listened to the prospects of potential business, but not all were as optimistic.

It would be safe to say that Exxon did not score the highest of ratings locally when they attempted their transport through the corridor of Hwy. 12 in the past. Power lines were accidentally brought down and no one from Exxon was available for answers.

McCalla listened carefully to objections and answered questions as they came.

There are the pros and the cons as in most every decision. In this case the good news is that none of the transport material is toxic, no fuels, nuclear waste, etc. and everything is manufactured within the United States, the community and those up and down our river stand to make a few dollars in the agreement.

However, there are some who wonder where we can draw the line. If we let one company through, does it open the door wide for others to follow? Will they all be as careful and as conscientious as Omega Morgan claims to be?

No one knows the answer to that, but it sure is a valid question.

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