Effective Friday, Dec. 20, at 12:01 a.m., Wisconsin’s frozen road law expanded to include the regions designated by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) as zones 3 and 4.
The frozen road determination for Zone 5 in southern Wisconsin will be made once conditions warrant (zones 1 and 2 were declared frozen Dec. 13).
The frozen road law allows heavier loads for trucks carrying salt and sand for winter maintenance, and peeled or unpeeled forest products cut crosswise (not including wood chips) until approximately early March, unless thawing necessitates an earlier cancellation of the provision or continued cold weather allows for an extension of the declaration period.
The declaration is issued once the ground under highway pavement is frozen to a depth of at least 18 inches, allowing the maximum gross weight for trucks hauling salt and sand for maintaining roads and certain timber products in winter to go up to 98,000 pounds on vehicles with a minimum of five axles (from the normal 80,000 pounds).
Special permits for hauling the increased weights are not required in zones 1, 2, 3 and 4; however, vehicles must be legally licensed at 80,000 pounds to handle the increased weights.
The higher weight limits do not apply to county or local roads unless authorized by the local agency having maintenance authority. Also, higher weights may not be transported on any highways or bridges specifically posted for lower weight limits.
Effective this winter season, new boundaries have been established for four of the state’s five frost zones to more accurately reflect typical weather and temperature patterns. Further information on the new zones, weight restrictions and the Frozen Road declaration can be found on the WisDOT web site at: www.dot.wisconsin.gov/travel/truck/weightrestrictions.htm.
Haulers with specific questions can contact WisDOT’s Oversize/Overweight Permits Unit at 608-266-7320.