AASHTO Journal, 28 August 2015
The Missouri Department of Transportation is reminding farm truck drivers that while a new state law allows them to operate with larger than normal truck weights they must still adhere to the posted weight limits for bridges and must stay off interstates.
Becky Allmeroth, MoDOT state maintenance engineer, said: “It is vital that livestock and grain haulers are aware of the responsibilities that coincide with the new weight allowances.” The agency announcement added that “haulers still must observe posted weight limits on bridges – no exceptions.”
The agency has regularly warned that its projected funding will not be enough to maintain state roads and bridges in coming years unless lawmakers boost MoDOT’s revenue, and it has adopted a plan to focus its resources on the highest-priority areas instead of trying to maintain its entire state road network.
The new law allowing farm trucks to run heavier will add to stress on the network, the agency noted. “Heavier loads could result in more rapid deterioration of Missouri’s supplementary system of roads and bridges at a time when funding for transportation improvements is stretched to the limit,” said Allmeroth.
MoDOT said under that law, heavier trucks hauling livestock, grain and grain co-products are limited to use of the state highway system. “This includes U.S. routes, numbered state highways and lettered routes but excludes the interstate system,” it said. “Trucks carrying a reducible load at weights heavier than normal legal weight limits cannot use any portion of an interstate highway.”
The agency said before loading those trucks, the pre-loading preparation should include checking intended routes to make sure bridges are rated to carry heavier loads. “If the intended route includes a weight restriction that is less than the planned gross weight of the load, choose another route or load up to or just less than the gross weight restriction,” it said, and directed readers to a website that lists bridges and their load postings. www.modot.org/bridgelimits
MoDOT also advised heavy haulers to “pay sharp attention to tires and brakes. Tires must be in good condition and rated to carry the heavier load. Heavier loads of shifting material require excellent braking systems.”
Finally, it noted that the law’s additional weight allowance applies only to movements within Missouri, so “before crossing state lines, learn whether heavier loads are allowed.”