Spring Frost Laws Will Restrict Heavy Loads on Area Roads Next Week

With most Michigan roads already the topic of every coffee break and water cooler session, not to mention complaints to city hall, MDOT and beyond, local road departments are implementing rules next week to keep the roads from being battered even more during the spring frost and thaw season.

Both the Berrien County Road Department and the Van Buren County Road Commission say that the frost laws will take effect on Monday, March 11th, 2019 at 6:00am this year.

Berrien, and Van Buren County along with other counties in Michigan's Great Southwest are activating annual frost laws to protect the roads. Enacting Frost Laws in the Spring helps preserve the condition of the roadway. Road surfaces can crack and develop stress fractures in reaction to too much weight being placed upon the surfacing during this time. The length that frost laws are in effect is determined based upon weather conditions.

When conditions justify the need for frost laws, the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and county road agencies enact weight restrictions on roadways that are not designated as all-season routes. Additional details of seasonal restrictions can be found in Section 257.722 of the Michigan Vehicle Code, Act 300 of 1949. There are a few exemptions allowed for those hauling agricultural commodities and public utility vehicles.

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The County Road Association of Michigan online provides an update of current weight restrictions in each county across the state of Michigan. For the most up-to-date information on weight restrictions on state roads, transportation companies and others with unusual loads should visit Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).

Following frost laws help maintain and protect roads from greater deterioration during this weather shift.

SEASONAL RESTRICTION LOADING MAXIMUMS

35-percent Reduction of Normal Loading Per Axle (as follows):

  • 11,700 pounds on single axles spaced 9 feet or more apart
  • 8,450 pounds on tandem axles spaced 3.5 feet to 9 feet apart
  • 5,850 pounds on axles separated by less than 3.5 feet
  • 8,450 pounds per axle maximum, tri-axle and multi-axles
  • 35 miles per hour maximum speed limit

ALL-SEASON ROAD LOADING MAXIMUMS

  • 18,000 pounds on single axles spaced 9 feet or more apart
  • 16,000 pounds on tandem axles spaced 3.5 feet to 9 feet apart
  • Only one tandem axle assembly permitted at 32,000 pounds, no other tandem axle assembly shall exceed 26,000 pounds
  • 9,000 pounds on axles separated by less than 3.5 feet
  • 13,000 pounds per axle maximum, tri-axles and multi-axles

Weight determinations are based on axle configuration in the Michigan Truck Safety Department publication "Truck Driver's Guidebook."

In addition to weight restrictions, there will also be a speed restriction set at 35-mph.

Van Buren County Road Commission officials warn that overweight citations may be issued listing the driver as the defendant, and it will be the driver’s responsibility to pay any fines incurred. Those fines can be quite substantial, with some of them as much as 20-cents a pound for each overweight axle.

Special attention will be given to all trucks with droppable axles (tag axles) to ensure that the axles are in the lowered position. Any truck found with its axle in the raised position on a restricted road will be stopped and weighed.

Further changes or updates may be found by accessing the VB Road Commission's web page, www.vbcrc.org, where you will find a link to "Weighmaster and Seasonal Weight Restrictions" under the sub-title "Permits, Fees and Guidelines."  If you have any further questions, you may contact the Van Buren County Road Commission’s Weighmaster, Andy Abbott, at (269)674-8011, or via email at AndyAbbott@vbcrc.org.

You can visit bcroad.org to find information regarding the Berrien County Road Department’s all season roads, BCRD Restricted Bridges and Culverts, and to view the BCRD Truck Operators Map.

For more information for Berrien County contact the Berrien County Road Department Offices at 269-925-1196. To submit permit paperwork or payment you can do so online or in person at the Berrien County Road Department located at 2860 E. Napier Ave in Benton Harbor, where the office hours run Monday – Friday 7:30am until 4pm.

Digital links (for additional information):

Link to BCRD Truck Operators Map:

http://bcroad.org/DocumentCenter/View/4320/BCRD-Truck-Operators-Map-PDF

Information posted on the BC Road Department website regarding commercial vehicles or to submit permits online:

http://bcroad.org/1428/Commercial-Vehicles

CRA’s Seasonal Weight Restrictions Map:

https://micountyroads.org/business/seasonal-weight-restrictions/