Iowa House panel OKs heavier trucks

| 3/4/2010

The largest trucks traveling along certain routes in Iowa could soon pack more freight under legislation on the move in the state’s House.

Iowa law now permits six- and seven-axle vehicles hauling livestock or some construction loads, such as rock or soil, to weigh more than 80,000 pounds. Affected loads on six-axle vehicles can weigh up to 90,000 pounds while seven-axle loads can weigh up to 96,000 pounds. The heavier loads are permitted only on non-interstate highways.

The House Agriculture Committee voted unanimously Wednesday, March 3, to approve a bill that would authorize all commodities to haul another 16,000 pounds. Loads on interstate highways would continue to be limited to 80,000 pounds.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is opposed to letting heavier trucks loose on Iowa’s roadways. If left alone, the Association says the problem would only worsen.

“What we’re seeing here is an all-too-common example of how truck weights are ratcheted up. Exemptions are made for certain commodities, and then the list is expanded to include other commodities,” OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer said.

Spencer pointed out that the roads these heaviest trucks would be running on weren’t built for vehicles carrying that much weight. Resulting problems would include premature highway deterioration, increased maintenance costs and safety concerns.

He said there is a harsh reality awaiting highway users if this bill makes its way through the statehouse.

“Very quickly those trucks will end up running through school zones and other places that motorists absolutely do not want to see the state’s heaviest trucks.”

The bill – HF2512 – now moves to the full House for further consideration.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Iowa in 2010, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor

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