Vermont outlaws "superloads"

| 12/18/2001

Vermont Agency of Transportation officials announced last week that trucks carrying oversize loads will no longer be allowed to use state roads if not part of their direct route. The agency reviewed its policies following the breakdown in Bennington last month of a 192-foot truck carrying a 72-ton nuclear reactor.

The load of low-level radioactive waste took an out-of-the-way route on its way from Connecticut to Utah. The rig traveled up Interstate 91, east to Vermont Route 103, then south on U.S. Route 7 to New York state.

Although the shipment was the largest and heaviest in the state's history, according to a published report, it only required a $20 permit. Officials believe the load was routed through Vermont because Massachusetts charges a higher amount.

Transportation Secretary Brain Searles, vowing to plug the gap "if we're becoming the route of least resistance," said the state will now require that drivers of oversize loads obtain a permit from the Vermont Motor Vehicles Department and can only do so if Vermont roads are part of the direct route.