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Prince Edward Island Frost Laws

2020 Prince Edward Island frost laws, seasonal load weight and speed restrictions.

Spring frost laws and weight restrictions for Island roads will begin at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, March 15, 2020.

Frost/thaw law for PEI.

For Prince Edward Island all weather roads, such as routes 1 and 2: Vehicles may carry up to their maximum allowable weight with no overweight exceptions permitted. Other roads: Vehicles may carry 75 percent of their maximum allowable weight during frost law (thaw law) season. Only the road’s posted weight limit is permitted and if the laws are not observed a fine may be levied.

It is important for truck drivers and trucking company dispatchers to make certain they are operating in accordance with the Prince Edward Island posted frost laws, seasonal load weight and speed restrictions that are posted. Changes to these restrictions is subject to change hourly during the winter and spring months. You are expected to be aware of these changes and operate accordingly. It is possible that heavy fines may be levied as well as your truck being ordered out of service and not permitted to travel. We suggest you bookmark this page for future reference.

Seasonal weight restrictions limit the maximum weight of vehicles allowed to travel on certain roads as a way to help prevent damage and protect investment in the roadways.

Late winter and early spring driving in this province has its own set of challenges. Previously frozen roads become more vulnerable to damage as they thaw out and soften. Heavy vehicles travelling over paved roads can make it worse by causing the pavement to crack and break up.

What is frost law and why are they necessary?

When pavement thaws during the daytime and freezes at night it is potentially damaging to the road. In order to prevent this “frost laws” are implemented in order to prevent costly damages to the road.

How are roads damaged by frost thawing or the road freezing?

Water from melted ice and snow seeps into cracks in the pavement and softens the gravel underneath. When the water beneath the surface freezes again, it expands and breaks the pavement, causing potholes. If ice continues to form under the pavement from a steady supply of water, it can push the entire surface of the road upward causing the washboard like unevenness (ripple) known as “frost heaving.” These damages are permanent and costly to repair.

Why are Prince Edward Island roads more vulnerable to seasonal damage?

Prince Edward Island consists of a high concentration of silty soil which collects and holds more water beneath the roadway surfaces, making the roads more susceptible to frost heaving and potholes despite any drainage measures that have been put into place.

What are the classifications of roads under weight restrictions?

  • All-weather roads, such as routes 1 and 2: Vehicles may carry up to their maximum allowable weight – with no overweight exceptions permitted.
  • Other roads: Vehicles may carry 75 percent of their maximum allowable weight.
  • Posted weight limits: Only the road’s posted weight limit is allowed.

Contact information:

Department of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy
3rd Floor, Jones Building
11 Kent Street,
P.O. Box 2000,
Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8

Phone: 902-368-5100
Fax: 902-368-5395

If you have questions about the frost/thaw laws as well as any other road related inquiries send a e-mail to: roads@gov.pe.ca

Prince Edward Island Seasonal Weight Restrictions:

https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/information/transportation-infrastructure-and-energy/seasonal-weight-restrictions

Learn about frost laws in other Canadian provinces.

Please share your knowledge with others by commenting below:

New Brunswick frost laws

2020 New Brunswick frost laws, seasonal load weight and speed restrictions.

Spring frost law/thaw law weight restrictions.

Spring weight restrictions for truck traffic will come into effect on Monday, March 11th, in southern New Brunswick and on Monday , March 18th , in northern New Brunswick. Restrictions will continue until midnight on Sunday, May 14th, in southern New Brunswick and midnight, Sunday, May 21th, in northern New Brunswick. These dates are dependent upon weather conditions and are subject to change.

“These weight limits are put in place every spring to ensure that our road infrastructure does not suffer damage during the annual frost and thaw cycle,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Bill Fraser. “We provide this notice to the trucking community so that they may prepare to reduce their loads or plan alternate routes during this period. I thank members of the industry for the co-operation and patience they demonstrate each year while these restrictions are in place.”

For the purpose of these restrictions, northern New Brunswick includes:

  • The area lying within the counties of Northumberland, Gloucester, Restigouche, Madawaska and Victoria.
  • The portion of Route 108 within York County.
  • The portion of Gordon Vale Road and Holtville Road within York County.
  • The portion of Route 123 within Sunbury County and Queens County.
  • The portion of Bloomfield Ridge Road between Holtville Road and Route 625.
  • The portion of Route 625 between Gordon Vale Road and Route 8.

Details are available online. Should weather conditions warrant, district engineers are authorized to close roads to trucks or impose weight restrictions on highways or portions of highways.

How to calculate your truck weights for spring thaw/frost transport.

Source: https://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/departments/dti/trucking/content/spring_weight_restrictions.html

Spring weight restrictions of 90% or 80% of legal axle weight are published each spring and are available at the link below.

http://www2.gnb.ca/content/dam/gnb/Departments/trans/pdf/en/Trucking/SWRListing-e.pdf

It is important for truck drivers and trucking company dispatchers to make certain they are operating in accordance with the New Brunswick posted frost laws, seasonal load weight and speed restrictions that are posted. Changes to these restrictions is subject to change hourly during the winter and spring months. You are expected to be aware of these changes and operate accordingly. It is possible that heavy fines may be levied as well as your truck being ordered out of service and not permitted to travel. We suggest you bookmark this page for future reference.

Seasonal weight restrictions limit the maximum weight of vehicles allowed to travel on certain roads as a way to help prevent damage and protect public investment in the roadways.

Learn about frost laws in other Canadian provinces.

Please share your knowledge with others by commenting below:

Manitoba Frost Laws

2020 Manitoba frost laws, seasonal load weight and speed restrictions.

Manitoba Spring Road Restrictions (SRR) program.

The Manitoba Ministry of Infrastructure divides its province into three sections, with each section having a unique thaw restriction start and end date. In 2020, it will begin its spring road restrictions for Region A and Region B of the province at 6 a.m. on Friday, March 10. Weight restrictions are scheduled to end at 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, May 31.

The allowable axle weights on weight restricted roads during the spring season are based on the percentages of the legal axle weights, with some exceptions for the single steer axles and in situations where essential commodities are being shipped. There are two levels of spring weight restrictions in Manitoba depending on the strength and surface conditions of the pavement structures. The Level 1 weight restriction applies to weak pavements while the Level 2 weight restriction applies to very weak pavements. The allowable axle weights on different axle configurations are calculated as follows:

Level 1 Spring Weight Restrictions:

  1. On a single steering axle of a single or tandem drive truck tractor:
    • 10 kg per millimeter width of tire up to a maximum of 5,500 kg on all highways.
  2. On a single steering axle of a straight truck or a tridem drive truck tractor:
    • Tire size 305 mm or less: 10 kg per millimeter width of tire up to a maximum of 5,500 kg on all highways.
    • Tire size greater than 305 mm: 9 kg per millimeter width of tire up to a maximum of 6,570 kg on all highways.
  3. On a tandem steering axle group of a straight truck:
    • 9 kg per mm width of tire multiplied by 0.90 (download factor) up to a maximum of 12,240 kg on RTAC Routes or Class A1 highways and up to a maximum of 9,900 kg on Class B1 highways.
  4. On all other axle groups:
    • 9 kg per millimetre width of tire up to a maximum of 90% of the legal axle group weights on all highways.

Level 2 Spring Weight Restrictions:

  1. On all single steering axles of all vehicle configurations:
    • 6.5 kg per millimeter width of tire up to a maximum of 65% of the legal axle weights on Class A1 and Class B1 highways.
  2. On a tandem steering axle of a straight truck:
    • 6.5 kg per millimeter width of tire multiplied by 0.90 (download factor) up to a maximum of 8,840 kg on Class A1 highways and up to a maximum of 7,150 kg on Class B1 highways.
  3. On all other axle groups:
    • 6.5 kg per millimeter width of tire up to a maximum of 65% of the legal axle weights on Class A1 and Class B1 highways.

Road restrictions for Region C, the northern most regions, will begin at 6 a.m. on Sunday, March 12, and end at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, June 10. Region C is defined as the rest of the province north of the virtual line in Region B.

Spring Weight Restrictions are classified as Level 1 and Level 2 (see table below).

Example of Maximum Allowable Axle Weights. Level 1 Spring Weight Restriction, Reduce Axle Weights to 90% Maximum Allowable Weights. Level 2 Spring Weight Restriction, Reduce Axle Weights to 65% Maximum Allowable Weights. A complete list of Charts of Allowable Axle Weights can be found at the following link: http://gov.mb.ca/mit/srr/restrictions.html

Manitoba Spring Road Restrictions Program:

Source: http://www.gov.mb.ca/mit/srr/

Manitoba publishes a list of road bans as conditions change. Go to the above link and look for “Road Bans” in the left column. These bans identify specific roadways and the ban imposed in percent of rated axle capacity.

It is important for truck drivers and trucking company dispatchers to make certain they are operating in accordance with the Manitoba posted frost laws, seasonal load weight and speed restrictions that are posted. Changes to these restrictions is subject to change hourly during the winter and spring months. You are expected to be aware of these changes and operate accordingly. It is possible that heavy fines may be levied as well as your truck being ordered out of service and not permitted to travel. We suggest you bookmark this page for future reference.

Seasonal weight restrictions limit the maximum weight of vehicles allowed to travel on certain roads as a way to help prevent damage and protect public investment in the roadways.

Learn about frost laws in other Canadian provinces.

Please share your knowledge with others by commenting below:

British Columbia Frost Laws

2020 British Columbia frost laws, seasonal load weight and speed restrictions.

2020 Seasonal Load Restrictions.

The British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure maintains an frequently updated database that posts frost law notices and seasonal load restrictions by region. Depending on the region weight restrictions may already be in place while others are scheduled to take place imminently.

NEW: Get on the e-mail notification list to be notified of seasonal load restriction changes for the following areas in British Columbia:

The link below includes an interactive map with links to 28 regions. Each region posts its current road conditions and any weight restrictions imposed. The current map indicates restrictions from “no weight restrictions” to “50%” of rated axle weights restrictions. It also includes access to recently updated load restrictions and road reports. British Columbia is excellent about providing up to date information about their frost laws and when they are in effect. It is important for truck drivers and trucking company dispatchers to make certain they are operating in accordance with the posted frost laws, seasonal load weight and speed restrictions that are posted. Changes to these restrictions is subject to change hourly during the winter and spring months. You are expected to be aware of these changes and operate accordingly. It is possible that heavy fines may be levied as well as your truck being ordered out of service and not permitted to travel. We suggest you bookmark this page for future reference.

  • South Vancouver Island.
  • Central Vancouver Island.
  • North Vancouver Island.
  • Howe Sound,
  • Sunshine Coast.
  • Lower Mainland.
  • Fraser Valley.
  • South Okanagan.
  • Kootenay Boundary.
  • Central Kootenay.
  • East Kootenay.
  • Selkirk.
  • Okanagan-Shuswap.
  • Nicola.
  • Thompson.
  • South Cariboo.
  • Central Cariboo.
  • North Cariboo.
  • Fort George.
  • Robson.
  • South Peace.
  • North Peace.
  • Nechako.
  • Lakes.
  • Bulkley Nass.
  • Skeena.
  • North Coast.
  • Stikine.

 

British Columbia:

http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/roadreports/RRMonitor.aspx

http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/bchighways/loadrestrictions/loadrestrictions.htm

Learn about frost laws in other Canadian provinces.

Please share your knowledge with others by commenting below:

 

Alberta frost law restrictions.

2020 Alberta frost laws, seasonal load weight and speed restrictions.

Just like any other Province Alberta has seasonal frost laws. However The Alberta Ministry of Transportation offers a e-mail notification service on their website to drivers who wish to stay up-to-date and legal on the latest road ban orders and seasonal weight restrictions. According to the website seasonal weights for heavy haul trucking are set according to the following schedule:

Spring: weather dependent, subject to thaw depth readings and begins at same time as Period 1 (weather dependent, subject to thaw readings of at last 25 cm.

Winter: weather dependent, subject to frost depth readings of one meter or more. In winter, trucking weights can be greater because the pavement is less vulnerable when the ground beneath it is frozen, providing support.

Seasonal Weights

Seasonal weights for heavy haul trucking are set according to the following schedule:

  • Spring: weather dependent, subject to thaw depth readings of at least 25 centimeters and begins at same time as Period 1 weights for service rigs
  • Post-Thaw: June 16 (may begin one week earlier or one week later)
  • Summer: July 1
  • Fall: September 1
  • Winter: weather dependent, subject to frost depth readings of 75 centimeters or more.

Seasonal weights for service rigs are set according to the following schedule:

  • Period 1: weather dependent, subject to thaw depth readings of at least 25 centimeters and begins at same time as Spring weights for heavy haul
  • Period 2: June 16 (may begin one week earlier or one week later)
  • Period 3: July 16
  • Period 4: September 1

Alberta also publishes a “Road Ban List” of major highways. Typically, the document lists weight restrictions of 90% of 75% of permitted axle weights. Access to the bans list can be viewed here: https://www.alberta.ca/road-restrictions-and-bans-overview.aspx#form15865

The most recent frost/thaw line can be viewed here: Thaw/Contour Map

You can contact the Alberta Ministry of Transportation by e-mail: central.permits@gov.ab.ca for general frost law inquiries. Contact information for City, County and other municipalities can be viewed here.

It is important for truck drivers and trucking company dispatchers to make certain they are operating in accordance with the Alberta posted frost laws, seasonal load weight and speed restrictions that are posted. Changes to these restrictions is subject to change hourly during the winter and spring months. You are expected to be aware of these changes and operate accordingly. It is possible that heavy fines may be levied as well as your truck being ordered out of service and not permitted to travel. We suggest you bookmark this page for future reference.

Seasonal weight restrictions limit the maximum weight of vehicles allowed to travel on certain roads as a way to help prevent damage and protect public investment in the roadways.

Learn about frost laws in other Canadian provinces.

Please share your knowledge with others by commenting below:

Minnesota frost law restrictions.

2019 Minnesota frost laws, seasonal load weight and speed restrictions.

As of April 26th, 2019 the last update was on March 14th 2019 for Winter Load Increase end date set for the NORTH-CENTRAL and NORTH FROST ZONES.

Spring Load Restrictions start date set for the CENTRAL, NORTH-CENTRAL and NORTH FROST ZONES
www.dot.state.mn.us/materials/pvmtdesign/sll/doc/seasonalupdates03142019.pdfSEASONAL WEIGHT INCREASE: Minnesota highways are at their strongest during the winter months. During the dates set by the Commissioner of Transportation each winter, the weight limitations are increased by 10 percent in designated frost zones

WEIGHT RESTRICTIONS: Paved routes remain at 10-ton limits, unless signs are posted restricting the axle weights to a lower limit. The starting and ending dates for these restrictions are determined by the Commissioner of Transportation for each of the frost zones depicted in the online map. Any road may be restricted at any time by the appropriate jurisdiction when conditions threaten damage or deterioration.

The Minnesota weight limits pamphlet and map can be found at:
http://www.dot.state.mn.us/materials/pvmtdesign/sll/doc/weight-limits-pamphlet-2014.pdf

For Seasonal Load Limits see: http://www.dot.state.mn.us/materials/pvmtdesign/sll/updates.html

This is a tabbed table showing dates and routes subject to seasonal restrictions, maps, weight information, seasonal load limits, etc.

Maine frost law restrictions.

2019 Maine Frost Laws, Seasonal Load Weight and Speed Restrictions.

Each spring, Maine DOT evaluates potential damage to state highways and determines whether weight restrictions should be imposed to prevent damage due to freeze/thaw action. Many municipalities undertake similar evaluations and restrictions on local road systems.

This means that a road that can carry a 15-ton load in the summer or winter may only be able to carry a 5-ton load as it thaws. A posted state road’s maximum weight limit is 23,000 pounds. The posting is temporary and is designed to protect a road while it is vulnerable.

For up-to-date road conditions and restrictions, go to: http://newengland511.org/ and select “trucking” at the top of the page and “Maine” at the top of the map.

For information about local road postings, please see the “Locally Posted Roads” Section or contact the appropriate municipal office:

http://maine.gov/mdot/postedroads/#undefined3

Iowa frost law restrictions.

2019 Iowa Frost Laws, Seasonal Load Weight and Speed Restrictions.

The Iowa frost laws and spring thaw laws went into effect on March 15, 2019.

Iowa publishes a road restrictions map which you can view by clicking here: https://iowadot.gov/mvd/motorcarriers/restrictionmap.pdf

You can also find other road restrictions maps here: https://iowadot.gov/mvd/motorcarriers/maps (scroll down to “annual pavement restrictions”).

At the discretion of the Motor Carrier Services Division. Seasonal weight embargoes and temporary or permanent bridge weight limits must be signed and posted by the governing agency/jurisdiction.

Notes: It would be wise to communicate directly with the IowaDot if you intend on changing routes often. Also, In addition to traffic penalties for violating roadway or bridge weight limits,  operators and the owner of the vehicle causing damage may be held liable for the cost to repair or replace the structure or pavement.

For information on spring pavement restrictions (frost laws), call the IowaDOT, Motor Carrier Services: 515-237-3268 Feb 1 – May 30 or you can try 3264 .

The IowaDOT trucking information guide is a decent place to start as it covers seasonal weight and many other valuable topics on oversize and heavy haul loads and restrictions starting on page 24: https://www.iowadot.gov/mvd/motorcarriers/truckguide.pdf

This publication address’ and clarifies many of the rules and regulations concerning the operation of commercial vehicles invthe State of Iowa. However, it is not possible to include every rule and regulation that may apply. If any questions exist, the reader is encouraged to contact other sources, including the agencies listed on pages 4 and 5

Iowa frost laws.

Idaho frost law restrictions.

2019 Idaho frost law restrictions. Seasonal truckload weight and speed restrictions.

Types of load restrictions: This rule states the size, weight or speed limit restrictions the Department may place on the state highway system if the operation of vehicles could cause damage to the road due to climatic or other conditions. Due to conditions, loads will be restricted to one of the following categories in the interests of public safety: (1) Maximum of: legal allowable weight, (2) 16,000 pounds on any axle, (3) 14,000 pounds on any axle, or (4) 12,000 pounds on any axle.

Weight limits: Normal overweight special permit limits will be suspended on all highways in the area when seasonal load and speed restrictions are imposed.

Weight limits based on tire sizes: In administering load limits based on tire sizes or width of tires, credit for tubed tires will be based on the manufacturer’s width marked on the tire. Tubeless tires will be given credit for the width of the conventional tubed tires which they replace.

Width limitation on two lane road: A spring breakup weight restriction to less than legal weight automatically also places a restriction on width allowed by special permit to 12 feet 6 inches during the period of the weight restriction.

Speed restrictions: Sections of highways that are posted for a maximum loads, trucks and buses with a gross weight of 10,000 pounds or more will be restricted to a maximum speed of 30 miles per hour. Restricted speed zones will be marked by a red marker that limits speeds to 30 miles per hour and a yellow marker that indicates that the legal speed may be resumed.

Weight Restrictions: Spring breakup weight restrictions limit the weight imposed on the highway by individual axles rather than the total gross weight of vehicles. Therefore, overweight permits may be issued that exceed legal allowable total gross load for a vehicle combination subject to these conditions:

a. Minimum tire width is 10 inches or larger.

b. Maximum axle weight on single axle having 2 single wheels shall not exceed 10,000 pounds.

c. Maximum axle weight on single axle having 4 or more tires shall not exceed 14,000 pounds.

d. Permits for non-reducible loads only.

Rules Governing Policy During Spring Breakup Season (39.03.14):

https://adminrules.idaho.gov/rules/2008/39/0314.pdf

2020 Frost laws introduction and overview.

2020 Frost laws introduction and overview.

Frost/thaw damages to surface.

Frost/thaw damages to surface.

2020 frost laws, seasonal load weight and speed restrictions by State/Province (USA and Canada).

Section 1. The United States: Restrictions and guidance on seasonal weight restriction laws.

Many states incorporate temporary special weight limits and restrictions (frost laws) during the spring months of the year. These temporary restrictions are usually referred to as “frost laws” and implemented typically during the month or March and April. In some Northern States and Provinces frost laws can still be in effect in July as it’s much colder in the North. Since these restrictions are implemented on a “as needed” basis it is possible many of the official government websites may not have published this temporary restriction in a convenient place as frost laws are also subject to change at any moment based on the temperature of the roads core. You want to be certain to check with the appropriate department officials to verify the latest changes in the laws.

It is very typical for States and Provinces to not be clear about their exact weight requirements during frost law season. This gives them the opportunity to examine each proposal individually on a case-by-case basis to determine if any damages may occur at the time should the shipment be approved. Information may only be available by contacting the SPECIFIC DEPARTMENT. The axle weight limits and spacings are determined by many factors including road conditions, temperature, moisture content in the soil, etc. Note multiple weight limits can be in effect at the exact same time in different parts of the region due to temperature as well as the actual construction of the road.

Visit any of the links below to view state frost laws:

Idaho Iowa Maine Michigan Minnesota  Montana Nevada  New Hampshire  New York North Dakota   Pennsylvania  South Dakota  Vermont Washington  Wisconsin  Wyoming

Section 2. Canada: Restrictions and guidance on seasonal weight restriction laws.

Many Canadian provinces issue spring frost law weight restrictions in the month of March and current Province websites may not be all inclusive of temporary changes in their laws. It is wise to check with the province’s DOT office (or appropriate department) for the most current and latest frost law information.

Visit any of the links below to view province frost laws:

Alberta British Columbia Manitoba New Brunswick Nova Scotia  Ontario  Prince Edward Island Quebec  Saskatchewan

Protection of our roads and highways.

There’s a delicate balance between protecting roadways during the spring thaw. In order to keep the trucking industry operating the Northern US states and Canadian provinces rely on engineers and scientific data to determine which dates frost laws will be in effect. With fairly recent advances in science and technology, data is much more reliable. This helps with the implementation of “Frost Laws” or “Seasonal Weight Restrictions” ensuring they are not implemented to early or late. While no State or Province desires to delay the transportation of goods through their territory it is imperative public assets are protected.

In areas that constantly get negative temperatures the amount of damages has forced Northern US States as well as Canadian Provinces to create and enact laws that restrict vehicle weights during spring months (specifically trucking companies), when the roads and bridges are thawing. There are all kinds of things that can go wrong with different types of roads and pavements. For example the State of Michigan has implemented permanent frost laws that go into effect during the months of March through May (and in some cases even June). Some routes require the legal axle weight limits be decreased by as much as 35%. Some States and local governments may also limit heavy-haul vehicle speeds to a maximum of 35 miles per hour during the frost law months regardless of posted limits.

Most major highways are constructed in 3 layers. The top layer you see or the pavement usually averages about 4″ to 6″ in thickness depending on it’s age. This layer of pavement is supported by 2 more layers. One is called the base layer and the other a sub-base layer. Together these three layers are typically at least 36″ in depth with most much more thicker. For instance in Southern Oregon on old US Highway 1 which follows the coast line from Mexico to Canada the road is a much as 16 feet thick as years of pavement has been laid. It should be noted that today’s technology is able to provide us with roads that are flexible due to the engineering of the construction process and the materials used. Excessive weight exerted by overloaded axles (or a weakened supporting base) can cause the pavement to bend or deform. The strength of the road combined with its resistance to bending determines the amount of weight the roadway can handle.

Road building technology has improved significantly during the last decade. The most obvious winter damage is the occurrence of potholes that are the result of moisture in the pavement freezing and weakening the top layer of the road. However, modern road building materials significantly reduce the amount of moister retained in the top layers, reducing the occurrence of pot holes. The base and sub-base however are still subject varying amounts of moisture that is influenced by rain, run-off and general moisture content during the spring months.

Roadways are built to carry normal maximum axle and gross weights based a certain level of residual moisture in the layers of the road bed. During the normal winters in the northern states and Canadian provinces, water in the soil typically freezes down to depths of a meter or more, preventing excess water from escaping. In fact, some areas in Canada allow up to a 25% increase in axle and gross weights because the solidly frozen base layers strengthen the road structure. During the spring thaw, however, axle and gross weights may be reduced by as much as 35%.

What exactly are frost laws?

Frost laws are seasonal restrictions on traffic weight limits and speeds on roadways subject to thaw weakening.

During the spring thaw, the roadbed is softened by trapped moisture beneath the pavement, reducing the supporting strength of the road to less than the original construction strengths. As the excess moisture evaporates or drains away, the road bed will stabilize and return to normal design strengths.

Because of the variability of temperatures each year States and Provinces must manage maximum weight and speed restrictions on a seasonal basis to both protect and preserve roads and ensure maximum access to trucking interests.

“Seasonal weight restrictions” typically start in early March and continue through mid-June. Since conditions vary from year to year, from below-normal to above-normal temperatures, most states and provinces reserve the authority to adjust spring load restrictions based on observed seasonal rain and temperature conditions, weather forecasts, as well as soil moisture sampling, to determine the dates for setting and removing weight restrictions. Weight restrictions remain in effect until sufficient moisture has escaped and the roadbeds regain stability. The most significant pavement damage occurs during the first four weeks after the onset of spring thaw.

Some states plan seasonal weight restrictions. For example, Pennsylvania schedules restrictions from February 15th to April 15th based on years of weather data. However, they reserve the authority to post additional restrictions due to unforeseen severe weather conditions.

The State of North Dakota has taken a much more different approach. They utilize temperature probes in the base layer sections, long range temperature forecasts, and sensors in the pavement to evaluate the strength of roadway bases to forecast when load restrictions should be imposed or removed.

A review of transportation  departments indicates 16 states have implemented frost laws or seasonal load restrictions. In many states, seasonal weight restrictions are managed by local governments or jurisdictions. Most Canadian provinces also have established spring thaw speed and weight laws.

Note: The strength of a roadway is affected by moisture in the base materials supporting the roadway. The condition of road surface—moisture or frost on the roadway—does not affect roadway strength.

In general, during the spring thaw, maximum axle weights and gross vehicle weights will be reduced as much as 35%. Each state or province has established maximum axle and gross vehicle weights for key national and state trucking routes.

Because these spring load restrictions will vary so widely by state, and even within a state and because seasonal restrictions may be posted on short notice, it is best to check each state’s freeze/thaw laws prior to each trip. Links to seasonal restriction information for each US state or Canadian province are posted above.

Frost laws are created for the States and Providences in the USA and Canada that experience very low temperatures in the winter months frost laws may be enacted.  These frost laws have been created to protect the State of Providences from highway and road damage caused by the surface cracking which is a direct result of too much weight being placed on the pavement which causes stress cracks thus damaging it.  Also, when the freezing temperatures start to thaw out at times the water can not escape quickly which will cause the water to build up which can weaken the base structure of the road or highway which again causes damages the the pavement.  Damages from thawing are just as severe if not even more extreme than frozen damages as they occur to the upper structure of the pavement rather than the base structure.  In some areas during the winter months actual federal weight limits for the trucking industry (80,000 pounds gross) have been reduced with a reduction in driving speeds as well.  This reduction has been observed as high as 35% in weight and even more in maximum speeds.  Some States and Providences close winter and spring travel in certain areas.

It is very important that managers of trucking and transportation companies are aware of the open and closed months, days and times these particular laws are in effect as you can’t make an arrangement with a customer to ship their item if the state will not let you ship it due to frost or thaw laws being in effect. We are creating a contact list (EDIT ADD LINK)  of each state that has frost laws enacted for the trucking industry for you to contact for further information.

It is important for you to check with the DOT, DMV, Port of entry or governing office of that particular area for clarification of the specific rules and regulations.