The so-called “half load” season for Canadian truck drivers is underway in many Canadian provinces and territories. Due to excessive water in the road base brought about by thawing ice and snow, Canadian governments implement weight restrictions on heavy trucks to reduce damage and strains to the structural integrity of the loads.
The following is an alphabetical list of spring weight restrictions and guidance provided by provincial and territorial ministries. The information comes from the provincial or territorial Ministry of Transportation where applicable.
Alberta: The Alberta Ministry of Transportation offers a subscription service on its website to drivers who wish to stay up-to-date with road ban orders and seasonal weight changes. According to the website, seasonal weights for heavy haul are set according to the following schedule -
- Spring: weather dependent, subject to thaw depth readings and begins at same time as Period 1 weights for service rigs
- Post-Thaw: June 16 (may begin one week earlier or one week later)
- Summer: July 1
- Fall: September 1
- Winter: weather dependent, subject to frost depth readings of one meter or more
British Columbia: The British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure maintains an updated database that posts notices of seasonal load restrictions by region. Depending on the region, weight restrictions may already be in place, while others are scheduled to take place imminently. The ministry also offers email notification of load restrictions via subscription service. The fine for violating a posted road restriction is $345, and a driver can be made to reduce weight immediately or be rerouted based on location and potential for road damage.
Manitoba: The Manitoba Ministry of Infrastructure divides its province into three sections, with each section having a unique start and end date. Last month, the province announced it will begin its spring road restrictions for Region A and Region B of the province at 6 a.m. on Friday, March 10. Weight restrictions are scheduled to end at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, May 31.
Region A is defined as “south of the virtual line that includes Provincial Trunk Highway 77, going easterly to include Provincial Route 513 (Gypsumville) and the northern tip of Black Island, following the eastern shore of Lake Winnipeg to the north shore of the Winnipeg River, easterly along the north shore of the Winnipeg River to PR 304 and easterly to the Ontario border.”
Region B is defined as “north of the virtual line specified in A (PTH 77), and south of the virtual line that includes Sherridon Road (Sherridon), going easterly to include PR 393, Wabowden Access Road (Wabowden) and Sipiwesk Lake Access Road, and easterly to the Ontario border.”
Road restrictions for Region C are slated to begin at 6 a.m. on Sunday, March 12, and end at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, June 10. Region C is defined as the rest of the province north of the virtual line in Region B.
Information is also available by calling the Road Information Line at 511 in Manitoba or at 877- 627- 6237 outside Manitoba, and by calling Motor Carrier Permits and Development at 204- 945-3961 or toll free at 877- 812-0009. More information at the ministry’s website here.
New Brunswick: Spring weight restrictions are scheduled to take effect beginning midnight AST on Sunday, March 5 in southern New Brunswick, and at midnight AST on Sunday, March 12, for northern New Brunswick. Restrictions will last until midnight Sunday, May 14 in the southern portion, and midnight Sunday, May 21 in the northern portion. More information, including routes and maps, is available here.
Northwest Territories: The Northwest Territories Department of Transportation maintains a real-time list of road conditions on its website.
Nova Scotia: The Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal offers its own website app that provides a graphic representation of the seasonal restrictions on all provincially-owned roadways. The app is available for free here.
Ontario: Pursuant to The Highway Traffic Act, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation will impose reduced load limits for designated parts of the provincial highways between March 1 and April 30, for Schedule 1 and Schedule 2 roadways, and from March 1 to June 30 for Schedule 3 roadways. A complete listing of all reduced load limit roads is available here. The MTO also places restrictions on all annual and project overweight permits, unless otherwise specified, from March to April in southern Ontario, and from March to May in northern Ontario.
Quebec: The province of Quebec is divided into three Thaw Zones, each with different starting and ending dates for load limit reductions. According to the Ministry of Transportation, spring thaw restrictions for Zone 1 (southern Quebec) went into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Feb. 27 and are scheduled to last until 11:59 p.m. Friday, April 28.
For Zone 2 (central Quebec) restrictions begin at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, March 6, and are scheduled to last until 11:59 p.m. Friday, May 5.
For Zone 3 (northern Quebec) restrictions begin at 12:01 a.m. Monday, March 13, and are scheduled to last until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, May 12.
A map of the thaw zones can be found here.
Saskatchewan: The Winter Weight Season is in effect for many roadways in the province of Saskatchewan, according to information from the provincial Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure. The ministry provides an interactive map showing where weight restrictions are in effect. More information is available on the ministry’s website.
Editor's note: Land Line Magazine's U.S. spring weight restriction round-up will be online Tuesday, March 7.