PENDLETON — Just as a major winter storm pushes across the region, the Oregon Department of Transportation is announcing the third megaload could move as soon as Friday night.

However, ODOT notes the move depends on weather and road conditions.

Whenever it gets on the road, the oversized load will follow the same route as the two loads that preceded it this winter: from the Port of Umatilla to Pendleton and south on Highway 395 to Mt. Vernon; east on Highway 26 through John Day, Prairie City and Austin Junction; and on to the Oregon-Idaho border. The route continues across central Idaho and north through Montana.

The Hillsboro-based hauler, Omega Morgan, is taking the loads — massive evaporator vessels — to the tar sands oil region of Alberta, Canada.

According to ODOT, this transport is shorter than the last two at 300 feet, but similar in width and height, at 23 feet and 19 feet, respectively. The measurements include the cargo trailer and pusher and puller trucks.

The load is expected to travel at night to reduce traffic impacts, but could be allowed to move during daytime hours on rural highway stretches.

How far the load actually moves this weekend remains a question mark. The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory and a storm warning for all of Eastern Oregon. Forecasters predict several inches of snow will fall each day through the weekend in the John Day Valley, with more snow accumulating in the highlands.

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