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Weight Restrictions For Commercial Trucks Begin

Semi truck photo
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Crown Star Images
Seasonal weight restrictions are going into effect for commercial trucks in much of Michigan.

With temperatures warming in recent days, county road commissions are beginning to enforce weight restrictions for commercial trucks on some roads.

The idea is to minimize pothole damage. In the winter, moisture trapped between layers of pavement will freeze, leaving bumps in the road, and when that thaws, Bill Conklin of the Ingham County Road Department says heavy commercial trucks can break the pavement. “To try to limit the damage from that, we reduce legal axle weights by 25 to 35-percent," Conklin explains, "depending on the type of road, during the spring thaw.”

Conklin says the county road department has enforcement powers. Weighmasters can pull a truck over and use portable scales to weigh each axle. “They have these portable scales they pull out of the back of their cars, or they take ‘em to a rest area or a yard where they’re not in the way of traffic of course," Conklin says, "and they have the truck gradually pull forward and weigh each axle.”

Penalties can be stiff.

In much of southern Michigan, weight restrictions have already begun or begin today. In colder parts of northern Michigan, so-called “frost laws” are not yet in effect.

Scott Pohl is a general assignment news reporter and produces news features and interviews. He is also an alternate local host on NPR's "Morning Edition."
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