QUEBEC CITY — While Ontario is undecided about allowing LCVs on its highways during the winter months, Quebec is pushing forward with a plan to expand its program throughout the entire year.
Long combination vehicles – twin, 53-ft trailers – have been permitted in Quebec since 1986, but only between March and November.
Today’s Trucking’s sister publication Transport Routier has learned that Quebec began a pilot project on January 17 to assess the feasibility of using LCVs 12 months a year.
Six companies, involving 41 special permits, are taking part in the demonstration project: Robert Transport, Transport Guilbault, Transport Morneau, Transport Thibodeau, Frit-O-Lay and Multibrand / Transport Lemieux.
Michel Robert, executive VP of Robert Transport and chairman of the Quebec Trucking Association (QTA), said that project was supposed to kick-off under the watch of former Quebec Minister of Transport, Julie Boulet, but it was put on the ice.
He said that discussions resumed with the current minister, Sam Hamad, and he was open to the project because of the "environmental and economic benefits that can result from using LCVs all year long," explained Robert.
The carriers involved must nevertheless comply with a list of conditions regardless of the time of year, such as utilizing LCVs only when the weather is clear and on clean pavement, with visibility at a minimum of 500 meters.
Trucks must also stop operating if weather conditions become unfavorable while the truck is on the road.
The usual weight load weight limit of 62,500 kg, safety rating standards, and additional experience for LCV drivers will still apply.
After February 28, when the normal period of LCVs usage resumes, each carrier participating in the pilot will report to the Ministry and a post-mortem meeting will be held, said Michel Robert.
Ontario is currently assessing its own LCV program, which was launched in 2009.
It is currently on winter shutdown, although this year it was extended through to November to match Quebec.
Emna Dhahak of the Ontario Ministry of Transportation tells Today’s Trucking that "there are no plans to extend the Ontario LCV program into the winter months at this time."
The MTO is reviewing the program and is conducting a comprehensive analysis in order to determine next steps."
She said the ministry is aware of Quebec’s latest pilot project and "will be interested in the results."
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