Indiana law resorts to heavier trucks to aid growth

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 5/3/2011

A new law is touted as a boost to economic development in southern Indiana. It will open up more access for heavier trucks. A separate bill would open another roadway to heavier trucks.

Gov. Mitch Daniels signed into law a bill to create the River Ridge Commerce Corridor. The corridor will essentially link the River Ridge Commerce Center, Charlestown State Park and a planned east-end Ohio River bridge, which will link Charlestown, IN, to the east side of Louisville, KY.

Previously HB1265, the law establishes the commerce corridor in an area that includes a section of state Road 62 in Clark County between Interstate 265 and state Road 3. The affected seven miles of roadway will be designated as an extra-heavy-duty highway after structural upgrades are complete.

The designation allows companies to use over-limit loads and wide truckloads to haul heavy equipment without needing special permits. The loads will be routed from barges at the Ports of Indiana at Jeffersonville to the warehouses or manufacturers at the commerce center.

Rep. Steve Stemler, D-Jeffersonville, said the purpose of the legislation is to connect the two main economic engines in the area.

According to a fiscal impact statement, the price tag to upgrade the affected roadway is nearly $5 million.

The new law takes effect July 1.

A separate bill still on the governor’s desk would add a Chicago-area roadway to the list of 22 highways where heavier trucks can travel. HB1137 would allow extra-heavy-duty loads of up to 264,000 pounds on state Route 912 in East Chicago. The maximum permitted weight is 134,000 pounds.

A fiscal impact statement notes that the state redesigned the route across a bridge between Dickey Road and Riley Road. The bridge is designed to handle the extra load.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Indiana, click here.

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