Seminar reviews load limits and roadsIt’s not the total weight of the truck and its load that damages the road, according to Darcy Rosendahl, program director for the North Dakota Local Technical Assistance Program at the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute. Instead, it is the weight carried by each axle and the distance between axles that can damage a highway.
By: By Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
It’s not the total weight of the truck and its load that damages the road, according to Darcy Rosendahl, program director for the North Dakota Local Technical Assistance Program at the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute. Instead, it is the weight carried by each axle and the distance between axles that can damage a highway.
Rosendahl discussed roads at a seminar presented as part of the Winter Ag Expo on Tuesday. Other presenters included Tim Gillespie, truck regulatory officer who patrols Stutsman, Barnes, Dickey and LaMoure counties, and Chad Kaiser, Stutsman County sheriff.
The seminar included information on the current load limit laws used by Stutsman County and the system used on state roads. The program was organized by Greg Entzminger of Jamestown and Darron Orr of Ypsilanti, two farmers, as a way to promote changing county and township regulations to match state law.
“We wanted to educate people about how changing the load limits could help the roads,” Entzminger said. “Everybody is always thinking of gross vehicle weight but if you spread the load over more axles and a greater distance it helps extend the life of the road.”
Currently, the Stutsman County load limit is a maximum of 80,000 pounds total vehicle weight for a semi rig.
The state formula utilizes several variables. It depends on the width of the tires, the number of axles and the bridge length or the length between the front and rear axles.
Cross referencing this information on a chart then tells the driver how much weight would be allowed on the truck.
Rosendahl said the state system allows trucks with more axles and greater lengths to carry more weight legally even though they would still have the same amount of weight on each axle. This reduces the number of truckloads that must be hauled to move the same amount of material. This reduces damage to the road and increases safety by limiting traffic on the highway.
A truck with triple axles under the trailer and truck would have seven axles and is allowed to haul more weight. Pulling a “pup” or trailer behind the regular trailer increases the number of axles and the length also increases the allowed load. With additional axles and length, a truck could reach a maximum legal capacity of 105,500 pounds.
David Schwartz, Stutsman County commissioner, said the county would likely consider changing the load limits after the spring melt. The county may allow trucks to carry an additional 10 percent in weight during the winter when the road beds are frozen. During the spring, when roads are often saturated and soft, load limits are commonly reduced. The delay would also give the County Commission more time to receive feedback from township officials.
County Auditor Casey Bradley said the county would still have roads that have lower load limits because of conditions. All roads in the county would receive signage indicating the legal load limit.
Kaiser said he hoped that townships would maintain the same load limits as the county no matter what action the county may make.
“We would like enforcement to be the same,” he said. “We hope the townships follow the county or some farmers would be landlocked away from the higher load limits.”
Entzminger estimated that between 20 percent and 25 percent of farmers own equipment with additional axles that would allow them to haul extra weight if the county changes the limits.
“A lot more farmers would upgrade if the county limits changed,” he said. “Right now there is no reason to buy the bigger trucks or trailers.”
Entzminger and Orr are optimistic the county will make changes to the limits in the future.
“We’ve heard no negative comments today but there is still skepticism,” Entzminger said. “We’ve talked to a lot of people and some who were against us when we started are promoting this now.”
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at email@example.com