New York is ready to open its border to Canadian carriers with higher weights

by Fred Nix

Trucking at heavy weights between Canada and New York State is about to get a lot easier. That’s because the current requirement that only New York registered trucks are eligible for state-wide permits for operations at 102,000 or 107,000 pounds will be cancelled. There may even be a new permit available at 117,000 pounds (53,070 kilograms).

Ray DeRocco, who heads up the Traffic & Safety Division of the New York State Department of Transportation, says the bill to change the requirement about New York registration is before the legislature now and is expected to pass soon. DeRocco was speaking at the Transportation Research Board’s annual meeting held recently in Washington, D.C.

Under U.S. federal law, truck weights on interstate highways are limited to 80,000 pounds. There are exceptions, such as the New York State Throughway, which sets its own limits and, in doing so, allows turnpike doubles to operate at up to 143,000 pounds. On other interstate highways, New York has what is known as a “grandfather” right to allow weights higher than the federal 80,000 pounds.

In 1983 New York began allowing trucks under permit at over 80,000 pounds on all interstate and state highways. There are now close to 5,000 permits allowing trucks at either 102,000 or 107,000 pounds (the 107,000-pound permit has some route restrictions). But other states and Canadian provinces are annoyed that New York limits these permits to trucks registered in the state. As DeRocco explains, New York is worried that it will lose a legal challenge to this restriction and that’s why the legislation has been introduced removing this requirement.

Typical five-axle Canadian tractor-semitrailers with 39,700 pounds (18,000 kilogram) tandems will be able to operate into New York at a little over 91,000 pounds under these permits. They won’t be able to make the maximum 102,000 pounds because Ontario doesn’t allow the very heavy tandems — 45,000 pounds (20,412 kilograms) — that New York State does. Typical six-axle Canadian tractor-semitrailers with a tridem axle on the trailer will be able to operate on crossborder hauls at about 103,000 pounds (46,720 kilograms). Again, it would be difficult for Canadian equipment to operate at the full 107,000 pounds allowed because of differences in tandem-axle weights.

The proposed 117,000-pound seven-axle tractor-semitrailer is such an odd configuration that it is unlikely many Canadian truckers will apply for such a permit. Among other things, the tractor has to have four axles and the trailer tridem has to include one self-steering axle.

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