Time to pay attention to U.S. spring thaw regs

| Tuesday, March 07, 2017

At least seven U.S. states and 11 provinces/territories in Canada have spring and frost laws for roads. The seasonal restrictions limit traffic weight and speed on roads that have sub-bases affected by the spring warming. It’s time for truckers hauling in northern states to pay attention to the signs or risk a fine.

Michigan has four spring weight restrictions. All information on routes and dates are posted on the Michigan transportation website. Three of the restrictions in certain areas are already imposed. On March 8 another bulletin will be issued to lift weight restrictions from the southern Michigan border north to and including U.S. 12 at the Michigan/Indiana border east to Interstate 94 in Berrien County, then north and east to I-69 in Calhoun County, then north on I-69 to Lansing and continuing on I-69 east to Port Huron, St. Clair County. Frost restrictions are still in effect for the remainder of the state and will be imposed and enforced on all state trunkline highways north of the U.S. 12, I-94, I-69 line.

Weight restriction info for Michigan and updates may be obtained by calling 800-787-8960.

Minnesota Department of Transportation’s website has a complete table of spring load restrictions, all currently enforced. The northern part of the state will impose the limits on March 6. For general information on spring load restrictions, call Tim Anderson 651-366-5455.

In Nevada, certain routes are prohibited for overweight vehicles during spring thaw and fines double. Click here for those routes and for what is prohibited Feb. 1 through April 30. Call the main number for the Nevada DOT at 775-888-7000 for additional information.

In North Dakota, load restrictions for spring thaw are effective as of Feb. 28. A complete map is available on the North Dakota DOT website, with a text version available for print-out. Signs erected on the highways govern the load restrictions in effect. For load restriction in North Dakota, call 866-696-3511.

South Dakota does not like to implement spring load restrictions any “earlier than necessary.” The highway authority monitors roads carefully and may limit weights anytime from Feb. 15 to April 30. Some roads are already restricted. For a complete list and map, click here. The phone number for motor carrier or trucker info is 605-773-3105.

In Wisconsin, the frozen road period ended and spring thaw restrictions began in February for most of the state. From Dec. 1 to May 1 of each year, Wisconsin’s state highways are on a strict schedule. The frozen road declaration is in effect to late February or early March. Class II roads are those state highways that are judged to have an unstable condition of the roadway subgrade when the ground thaws. It typically lasts from early March until the first or second week in May.  The springtime posted roads program normally is from the second week in March until late April or early May. For more information on the current status, call 608-266-8417. It’s a recorded message. Click here for the current map and roads list.

According to Wisconsin’s DOT website, some of the state’s roadway sections are too weak to withstand even the legal load limit (80,000 pounds) during the springtime freezing and thawing period. These highway sections have signs posted indicating the allowable weight limits during the period normally from the second week in March till late April or early May. Approximately 170 miles (13 segments) of state highways are posted during the springtime freezing and thawing period. The 13 segments account for less than 2 percent of all Wisconsin state highways.
For information on particular roadway postings, truckers are urged to contact the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) personnel who represent the county where the roadway is located.

Wyoming has no specific annual restrictions, but restrictions may be imposed as necessary during spring thaw. Some highways have legal loads only March 1-June 15 due to spring thaw. Call Wyoming Travel Information Service, Size and Weight Restrictions office in Cheyenne at 888-996-7623. Click here for maps, routes, weight limits and other information. Click here for a list.

Related articles:
Spring weight restrictions in effect for much of Canada

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