As Senators finalize highway bill draft, more voices on size and weight

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Oversize load on I-65 in Kentucky

A draft of a highway bill from Senators is expected soon, as reported here, but likely not this week, given the late hour. Reportedly, according to our friends at Better Roads, Monday, May 12, could see the release of a “multi-year solution,” according to that report, that others say could well be a six-year bill, making it the first such truly long-term measure since the SAFETEA-LU legislation put into law back in 2005. The  most recent bill — the controversial (in more ways than one) MAP-21 — was a shorter two-year measure. 

That legislation urged study of the issue of size and weight limits on the National Highway System — time will tell what relative measures this one takes up. You can catch a round-up of some of the late Congressional action on size and weight via this linked story, and further reader voices follow.   

Lynn Sweetwood: Heavy is what is tearing the roads up now. It would be brain-dead adding weight!

Eric Chapman: Not everyone should haul heavier loads. Minimum experience should be required. … Then pay me. 53 foot is it. Any longer will not be safe.

Bret Stuchell: They will increase both, but it will not be good for us owner-operators. Our costs will go up, but revenue will stay the same. It’s designed to break the little man, so I vote no to both.

Ryan Harter: Of course the big companies’ drivers will say no to it. Those who get paid by weight would love it.

A sizable majority of Overdrive readers, according to this recent poll, favor the status quo on size and weight limits. Find more voices on the issue here.A sizable majority of Overdrive readers, according to this recent poll, favor the status quo on size and weight limits. Find more voices on the issue here.

Edward Hodges: Is it cost-effective? Grain haulers get paid per hundred-weight here. A standard five-axle truck can load 54,000 lbs. of product and be at 80,000 lbs. You go to a tri-axle trailer [to accommodate added weight], you can now go to 92,000, but now your trailer is 4,000 lbs. heavier. Your net increase is 8,000, plus your trailer, new, will be about $12K-$15K more. Go to a full trailer and a pup and you can get 70,000 across both trailers — the cost of two trailers is just that, twice the cost of one, plus now you’re going to be running at 3.5 mpg. Now factor in state highways that are maxed at 80,000. If you have a triaxle on that road, you’re hauling less than a standard setup. To each his own. Have fun trying to alley dock a 57-foot triaxle.

Bruce Kallenbach: No increase in the 53-foot length, but I [could get behind] increased weight with three axles on trailers, turnpike double units on the open roads and three-pup triple units to 105 feet on all open four-or-more-lane highways, but restricted to no operation in inclement weather!

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