Ontario initiates Phase 2 of weight, dimension reform

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TORONTO, Ont. — A new generation of safer, infrastructure-friendly trucks will be the result of the second round of the vehicle weight and dimension reform in Ontario.

These latest reforms deal specifically with lift-axle-equipped dump trailers, which have been deemed a tremendous cause of excessive bridge and pavement wear.

“The Ontario government is committed to working with the trucking industry to find alternative vehicle designs that are safer and less damaging to our roads and bridges,” says Transportation Minister Norm Sterling. “These reforms support Ontario’s commitment to safer roads.”

This is the second group of vehicles to be addressed under the ministry’s weight and dimension reforms, which will eventually sweep through all specs.

Tough weight penalties will apply to any new equipment not built to be infrastructure-friendly:

— 4500kg gross weight reduction (9000 kg if two or more lift-axles) applies to any new dump semi-trailer built after Jan. 1, 2003. Reductions do not apply to infrastructure-friendly alternatives.
— 4500kg gross weight reduction (9000 kg if two or more lift-axles) applies to existing dump semi-trailers on Jan. 1, 2011. (Existing trailers are those built prior to 2003).
— existing end-dump semi-trailers that have not reached 15 years of age in 2011 (20 years of age for open-top hoppers) are eligible for special annual permits to further exempt them from weight reductions until they reach 15 or 20 years of age.

“The ministry recognizes that operators have a large investment in existing equipment,” says Sterling. “These reforms ensure that operators are treated in a fair and reasonable fashion and protect the interest of the small businesses.”

Equipment owners and operators are protected in two ways. Existing equipment can continue to operate at current weights for many more years. When time comes to purchase new dump semi-trailers, infrastructure-friendly alternatives that are just as productive as existing equipment is available. Alternatives include a single semi-trailer operating on a tandem axle.

Consultations for the next phase of vehicle weight and dimension reforms are expected to start later this year. Phase 3 will address all remaining lift-axle equipped semi-trailers including multi-axle vans, flatbeds, tanks and doubles.

Industry representatives, trailer and component manufacturers, O/Os, fleet operators and shippers, can expect to work alongside the ministry in the attempt to protect provincial and municipal roads and bridges, improve road safety and maintain industry productivity.

As well, several provisions have been made to further harmonize self-steer standards with neighboring jurisdictions.

Effective immediately, the self-steer quad may have a fifth (liftable) axle, but this axle may not be deployed in Ontario. This axle is for use in other jurisdictions where more axles are required to achieve similar gross weights. The self-steer triaxle and self-steer quad semi-trailers may have a switch to ‘turn-off’ load-equalization when operating outside of Ontario.

This allows maximization of gross weights in jurisdictions that require different weights on different axles.

For more information visit www.mto.gov.on.ca and click on ‘what’s new’.

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