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Developing New Log Configurations a Timely, Costly Process

TRIDEM-TRIDEM: Getting new configurations approved is a difficult task. Tri-drive trucks are still not allowed in some provinces.Photo by FERICGRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. - Log haulers, always in search of...


TRIDEM-TRIDEM: Getting new configurations approved is a difficult task. Tri-drive trucks are still not allowed in some provinces.Photo by FERIC

GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. – Log haulers, always in search of increased payloads, have been responsible for developing a wide range of configurations which have been adopted by provincial governments across the west. But it’s not an easy process to take a good idea and transform it into a real-life configuration allowed on public highways.

Rose Hees of Alberta Transportation says most new configurations begin as a truckers’ brainchild.

“It’s you people out there in the industry and especially the truckers, who are out there finding better ways of doing things,” said Hees at the Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada’s (FERIC’s) western transportation conference in Grande Prairie.

However, she had some words of advice for truckers who come up with a new configuration they’d like to see accepted by regulators.

“If you dream the scheme, you’re on the hook for (the cost) yourself,” said Hees. And that cost can quickly get out of hand. The individual who is pushing to have the configuration adopted must first have computer simulations created which show how the new unit will perform under various conditions. They must also build a working prototype which must be operated in the field for six to nine months. Dynamic testing is also required and for some time the configuration can only be operated under a special permit.

It’s about a six-year process in Alberta before the configuration would get the green-light, and the costs can be astronomical.

“It’s a long process, but it does happen,” said Hees.

She cautioned individuals interested in pitching a new configuration to first check with Alberta Transportation. Since it is such a long process, it’s always possible that another company or individual has already started the process for the same, or similar, configuration.

Also, wheelbase restrictions must be adhered to, so Hees said to ensure the new configuration would comply with the minimum wheelbase regulations before proceeding.


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