Operators of heavy trucks will see a shorter period of spring road restrictions this year.
When temperatures rise and the frost comes out of the ground, restrictions must be placed on truck weight limits on some roads as the roadbed is not as strong during the spring and would be damaged by heavy loads.
"Manitoba is a major trade route and our recent upgrades to highways and bridges are now helping trucking firms, industries and farmers reduce hauling costs so they can operate more efficiently," said Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Steve Ashton. "This latest improvement, prepared in consultation with stakeholders and heavy truck operators, will also benefit other truckers and farmers using our roads and highways."
The new policy will take changing weather conditions into account in determining when spring road restrictions must be put in place, instead of using pre-set start and end dates. This policy represents a proactive approach to adapting to climate change, the minister said. A new formula to calculate thawing of the roads has been determined and if weather conditions allow this spring, road restrictions could be in place as early as March 11, but will not last more than 56 days. This maximum total of days the roads may be restricted is down from 70 days. Also, to allow trucking operators to better plan, they will be provided three days notice of the start and end of the restrictions, up from the current practice of two days notice.
"Year after year, Manitoba municipalities see a marked increase in heavy truck traffic on municipal roads during the spring weight restriction period," said Doug Dobrowolski, president of the Association of Manitoba Municipalities (AMM). "The AMM supports the use of weather conditions as well as the reduction in the number of days the restrictions may be in place on provincial roads. Both these measures should help to reduce both damage to municipal roads and expense for municipalities."
As part of Manitoba's highway and bridge renewal strategy, increased funding has been directed toward highway and bridge upgrades, which now mean greater weights can be allowed on a number of roads, Ashton said.
Major routes such as the Trans-Canada Highway and PTHs 2, 6, 16 and 75 continue to be able to accommodate the heaviest truck loads, year round.
The latest information on spring road restrictions is available at www.gov.mb.ca/mit/srr and up-to-date details on Manitoba's road conditions are available any time toll-free at 511, at www.mb511.ca or by following the new Twitter account @MBGovRoads.