Ohio House OKs heavier loads of steel coils

| 6/4/2008

Trucks loaded with three steel coils in Ohio would be allowed to run heavier on certain highways under a bill headed to Gov. Ted Strickland’s office.

The state’s House voted to approve a bill that would allow trucks traveling state or local highways to haul three steel coils at 120,000 pounds. Special permits would be required. Ohio law now limits those loads to 92,000 pounds. However, trucks transporting one or two steel coils under permit can weigh up to 120,000 pounds.

The bill – HB30 – cleared the Senate May 21 after the steel coils provision was added to the measure that would regulate signs notifying drivers of red-light cameras. The House was required to sign off on the change before the bill could move to the governor’s desk, where it is expected to be signed into law.

Supporters say the intent of the effort is not to alter the total weight limit. They simply want to make Ohio competitive with other states by changing the amount of coils that can be hauled under the limit.

Others say the change would benefit the trucking industry, which is trying to cope with fuel prices that continue to exceed all-time highs. It also would reduce congestion, supporters contend.

Critics say most trucks are not designed to stop at that much weight. They recommend adding a third axle to evenly distribute the load weight and increase braking power.

The three-coil weight exemption would take effect July 1 and extend for one year. During that time, the Ohio Department of Transportation would be responsible for determining if the heavier trucks damaged highways.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Ohio in 2008, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor