MTO explains Phase 2 changes to weights and dimensions

by James Menzies

TORONTO, Ont. – The Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO) was on-hand at Truck World to deliver a seminar on the impact of Phase 2 of the vehicle weight and dimension reforms introduced earlier this year.

Phase 2 deals with lift axle-equipped dump semi-trailers and hopper semi-trailers, and is aimed at reducing the wear and tear these units put on the province’s infrastructure.

Costly penalties are on the way for users of these lift axle-equipped units, although there will be a lengthy grace period, explains Ron Madill, project leader of MTO’s vehicle weights and dimension reforms.

“There are some very real safety issues involved with these types of trailers but the main cause of these changes is to protect our roads and bridges,” says Madill.

“We’re trying to encourage the use of infrastructure-friendly alternatives.”

The restrictions will apply to all end-dump and open-top hopper dump semi-trailers.

“It doesn’t matter how many axles they have, they are involved in these changes,” says Madill.

Operating the lift axle-equipped units will result in weight reductions of 4,500kg for trailers built after 2002 with one lift axle, and 9,000kg for units with two or more lift axles.

“It’s our intention to make these trailers economically unattractive so nobody will build them anymore,” says Madill.

Operators currently running the targeted trailers built prior to 2003, will be able to continue doing so until at least 2011.

Recently purchased trailers can be operated for up to 20 years with a permit before the weight reductions kick in.

Afterwards, Madill says “They can carry on operating the trailer at reduced weights, sell it or retrofit it to an infrastructure-friendly trailer.”

One infrastructure-friendly alternative expected to gain in popularity is the use of self-steer axles.

“None of the axles need to be raised when the vehicle is loaded and on the highway,” says Madill.

For more information about the new regulations, contact Madill at 519-473-6543.

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