FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Christina Strong
January thaw puts seasonal weight restrictions in effect
The January winter thaw has turned almost balmy in Michigan, which means that in many locations the county road agency will activate seasonal weight restrictions at least through the next week.
“Those individuals and companies involved in trucking and hauling heavy loads may wish to check with their county road agency to learn whether their haul routes may be temporarily impacted by this stretch of unseasonably warm weather,” said Denise Donohue, director of the County Road Association of Michigan, the members of which include all 83 Michigan county road commissions and departments.
Seasonal weight restrictions – sometimes called “frost laws” – are written into law to protect Michigan’s local roads from excess weight during periods when the roads are most vulnerable to damage. State law allows MDOT, counties and municipalities to reduce truck weights and speeds on roads that are not built to accommodate heavy truck traffic in such conditions.
During the weight restriction period, trucks traveling on posted/restricted roads must reduce speeds to 35 mph and carry lighter loads – a 25 percent reduction on concrete roads and 35 percent reduction on asphalt or gravel roads.
Roads are particularly vulnerable now, during late January, because the unseasonably warm temperatures have allowed the surface to thaw, causing water to puddle on and under the road – while the lower levels remain frozen. The now-spongy surface directly under the roadbed does not provide optimal support, making the roadbed very vulnerable to cracking under heavy loads.
Colder weather will soon return to Michigan and the weight restrictions will be lifted in most locations. Seasonal weight restrictions are typically in force in Michigan in March and April, which will likely be the case again this year.
The latest information on seasonal weight restrictions may be obtained by calling the local county road agency. Or consult micountyroads.org under the “Doing Business With Us” tab.
The 83 members of the County Road Association of Michigan represent the unified voice for a safe and efficient county transportation infrastructure system in Michigan, including appropriate stewardship of the public’s right-of-way in rural and urban Michigan. Collectively, Michigan’s county road agencies manage 75 percent of all roads in the state, including 90,000 miles of roads and 5,700 bridges. County road agencies also maintain the state’s highway system in 64 counties. Michigan has the nation’s fourth-largest local road system.