Lansing, MI – With spring around the corner and ice melting, some county road agencies are activating seasonal weight restrictions across the state.
The restrictions may or may not stay in effect for the rest of winter, depending on what the upcoming weather will bring. Michigan law requires seasonal weight restrictions to be implemented by default March 1, unless suspended by a county road agency.
Seasonal weight restrictions – also known as “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 those conditions.
During the weight restriction period, trucks traveling on posted/restricted roads must reduce speeds to 35 mph and carry lighter loads – a 25% reduction on concrete roads and 35% reduction on asphalt or gravel roads.
Roads are particularly troubling now, in a few counties, because the milder 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 enough support, making the roadbed very vulnerable to cracking under heavy loads.
The County Road Association (CRA) of Michigan also urges companies and individuals hauling heavy loads to stay away from the edge of the road. The road’s edge and gravel shoulder are the weakest parts of the road and can easily break or fail.