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Starting July 1, Idaho authorizes heavier trucks statewide


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Land Line  /  June 24, 2016

The new law signed by Gov. Butch Otter early this year permits loads weighing up to 129,000 pounds (58,513kg) on Interstates 15, 84, 86, 90 and 184 – up from 105,500 pounds (47,854kg).

The weight change takes effect July 1.

The U.S. Congress gave Idaho permission late this past year to pursue the change.

Advocates said the change will benefit shippers who now must downsize loads entering from Montana, Nevada and Utah – all of which permit at least 129,000-pound loads. Wyoming allows loads up to 117,000 pounds.

Sen Bert Brackett, R-Rogerson, led the way for the bill through the statehouse. He previously said it is a simple bill that aligns the state with the recently passed federal legislation.

In 2003, Idaho lawmakers approved a pilot project authorizing multiple trailer trucks with overweight permits to weigh up to 129,000 pounds on 35 southern Idaho routes, rather than the previous restriction of 105,500 pounds.

A decade later the change became permanent. In addition, a separate 2013 law permitted the state to add roads in northern Idaho – as long as local highway officials agree.

Supporters of truck size and weight increases also refer to an Idaho Transportation Department report that found the weight change authorized 10 years ago saved companies money and reduced truck trips without much change to wear and tear on affected roads. Additionally, the agency reported there wasn’t an increased danger to the public.

Opponents, including OOIDA, question the results. They point to a congressionally mandated pilot program in Vermont on heavier trucks. A Federal Highway Administration report noted that pavement damage and crash rates each increased by at least 10 percent.

Two more new laws in Idaho set to take effect at the first of the month also cover truck rules.

One new law allows stinger-steered vehicle transporters up to 80 feet – up from 75 feet. The front overhang can also be up to four feet while the rear overhang can be up to six feet – up from a combined seven feet.

The second rule change states that the highway department must provide for commercial vehicles to keep their license plate number upon renewal, or a different number upon request.

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