2024 Maine Winter Frost /Spring Thaw Laws and Seasonal Weight Restrictions
Each spring, the Maine Department of Transportation (Maine DOT) conducts assessments to gauge potential damage to state highways, determining whether weight restrictions are necessary to prevent damage caused by freeze/thaw action. Many municipalities follow suit, evaluating and imposing frost laws on local road systems during this vulnerable period. Temporary postings are designed to protect roads, limiting their maximum weight to 23,000 pounds.
Maine Oversize and Overweight Restrictions
In Maine, an “Oversized Load” is defined by specific dimensions. The allowable limits include a width of 8 feet 6 inches, a height of 13 feet 6 inches, and various lengths, such as 53 feet for a semi-trailer and an overall length of 74 feet, including any legal overhang. Weight specifications determine an “Overweight Load” in Maine. The regulations set weight limits for single axles at 20,000 pounds, tandems at 34,000 pounds, tridems at 42,000 pounds, and a maximum gross weight of 80,000 pounds.
Maine Pilot Car and Sign Requirements
Pilot cars or escorts are required under certain conditions, such as when the load exceeds 80 feet in length or 12 feet in width. The pilot vehicle, typically a light truck or automobile, must be positioned based on the highway type, equipped with special lighting, signage indicating “Oversize Load,” and operated by a driver aged 18 or older with at least two consecutive years of holding a motor vehicle operator’s license. Maine’s axle regulations establish legal weight limits based on vehicle type and axle configuration. These limits vary for 2-axle vehicles, 3-axle vehicles, 4-axle trucks, 5-or more axle vehicles, and various combinations of vehicles.
Maine Trip and Fuel Permits
Permit weights are also outlined, ranging from 39,100 pounds for a 2-axle vehicle to 177,000 pounds for an 8-axle truck tractor-semitrailer. The granting of permits without review depends on the vehicle type and weight. For trip and fuel permits under the International Registration Plan (IRP) and International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA), Maine requires registration for vehicles traveling to other IRP jurisdictions with a gross weight of over 26,000 pounds or three or more axles on the power unit. The state issues 72-hour IRP trip permits for $25 plus a $3 fax fee. Fuel permits are also available for 72 consecutive hours for $50. The Maine DOT’s dedicated contact line at (207) 624-9000 can provide essential assistance and guidance for specific inquiries regarding road restrictions, permits, or any related concerns.