A current weight limit of 97,000 pounds allowed on U.S. 41 in Wisconsin could remain in place once the roadway is upgraded to interstate status next year.
Wisconsin members of the U.S. House and Senate are considering bills in their respective chambers that would allow an exemption to the 80,000-pound rule for interstates once U.S. 41 officially becomes Interstate 41.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is currently studying a 175-mile section of U.S. 41 from Green Bay to the Illinois state line south of Milwaukee that will become interstate. Congress permitted the I-41 designation in the 2005 highway bill.
The U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee advanced its version of the truck weight bill, HR2353, on Thursday, July 18. The House version is sponsored by Rep. Tom Petri, R-Wis., who chairs the T&I Committee’s Subcommittee on Highways and Transit. Six other House delegates from Wisconsin have signed on as cosponsors.
Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., sponsored the Senate version, S1299, along with cosponsor Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis. Their bill currently resides in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
Wisconsin has a history of doing the same thing on other roadways.
According to the state DOT, the interstate designation will link metropolitan areas and bring economic growth. If the extra 17,000 pounds were removed from legal truck weights as per interstate rules, trucks that haul 97,000 pounds in the Badger State would leave the corridor and travel on secondary roads, the DOT stated in a project overview.
Bill language for HR2353 and S1299: “If any segment of the United States Route 41 corridor, as described in section 1105(c)(57) of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991, is designated as a route on the Interstate System, a vehicle that could operate legally on that segment before the date of such designation may continue to operate on that segment, without regard to any requirement under subsection (a).”
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