REGINA, Sask. — Truckers and shippers across Saskatchewan have been advised by the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure to begin reducing the size of their loads on secondary weight highways.
The heavier weight allowances were formally removed in the southwest corner March 1.
When roadbeds are solidly frozen in winter, truckers can carry heavier loads, but weights revert back down to normal limits throughout the rest of the year, according to the Ministry announcement. However, during the most fragile spring thaw period, truckers must adhere to six-week spring road bans, where loads are reduced a further 10% to 15% from normal weights on banned roadways.
“As spring approaches, many roads become vulnerable to soft spots and surface cracks, as the frost comes out of the roadbed,” Highways and Infrastructure Minister Wayne Elhard said. “Truckers are advised to monitor their loads and watch for restrictions during this freeze-thaw period. I expect there may be a brief period of time when normal weights will be allowed beginning March 15, but it only takes a few days of plus temperatures to cause us to issue spring road bans. We need truckers to lighten their loads to protect our vulnerable thin membrane surface – or TMS – highways from surface failures.”
Spring road bans are a tool that the province and rural municipalities have used for decades to mitigate damage to infrastructure during this sensitive period. Once the bans are announced, they take effect for six weeks, moving in a north-easterly fashion as warmer temperatures spread across the province beginning in the southwest corner. The bans only impact secondary weight highways.
To understand exactly where these bans are occurring at any given time, the Ministry has provided an interactive map at www.highways.gov.sk.ca. The map details where road bans are in place or have been lifted, and gives information on special year-round weight restrictions across the province. Users can click on their region for a more detailed look at the map. The latest road ban information for highways and municipal roads can also be found in list form on the Web site, under the heading “Road Restriction Orders.” New information is published twice weekly.
These restrictions do not apply to primary weight highways with structural pavements. Municipalities institute their own spring road bans on selected municipal roads. Information on municipal road bans is also available under “Road Restrictions Orders” on the Ministry Web site.
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