2020 New Foundland & Labrador winter frost/spring thaw laws and restrictions.
As winter turns to spring in Canada the layers of materials that compose roads are significantly weakened by the excessive amount of water in the road base. As as a result of the annual spring thaw. Studies conducted by the provincial transportation ministries and Canadian Highway Research programs have shown that pavement reactions to a load are 50% to 70% greater in the spring than any other season. For trucks travelling across highways every day, this means that the same axle can cause between five to eight times more damage to the road in the spring than it would at any other time of the year.
In order to reduce the amount of damage done to roads, every Canadian province issues an annual “Spring Thaw” policy. Enforced by the province, the policy restricts loads carried across at-risk highways for a fixed period. For example, in 2017, Ontario’s spring thaw restrictions will run from March to June in some areas of the province, whereas highways in New Brunswick will be regulated from March to May.
The extent of the restrictions, technical criteria, and time period can fluctuate and are dependent on the condition of the road and by region.