The Michigan Department of Transportation continues to adjust annual spring weight restriction areas in what it calls its annual move to protect roads.
Effective 6 a.m. Friday, Feb. 24, weight restrictions will be imposed and enforced on all state trunkline highways within the following area of Michigan:
- Highways north of a line on M-43 in the city of South Haven, then east on M-43 to US-131 in Kalamazoo County, then south on US-131 to I-94 in Kalamazoo County, then east on I-94 to I-69 in Calhoun County, then north on I-69 to I-96 in Lansing, then east on I-96 to M-59 in Livingston County, then east on M-59 ending at the I-94 interchange in Macomb County.
- Highways south of a line on M-55 from the US-31 intersection in Manistee County east to M-66 in Missaukee County, then north on M-66 to M-55 in Missaukee County, then east on M-55 to the intersection of US-23 in Tawas in Iosco County.
All state trunk lines between these two lines will have weight restrictions imposed and enforced. State routes typically carry M, I, or US designations.
In the restricted areas, the following will apply:
- On routes designated as "all-season" (designated in green and gold on the MDOT Truck Operators Map), there will be no reduction in legal axle weights.
- On routes designated as "seasonal" (designated in solid or dashed red on the MDOT Truck Operators Map), there will be a posted weight reduction of 25 percent for rigid (concrete) pavements and 35 percent for flexible (asphalt) pavements.
- All extended permits will be valid for oversize loads in the weight-restricted area on the restricted routes. Single-trip permits will not be issued for any overweight loads or loads exceeding 14 feet in width, 11 axles, and 150 feet in overall length on the restricted routes.
When roads that have been frozen all winter begin to thaw from the surface downward, melting snow and ice saturate the softened ground. During the spring thaw, the roadbed softened by trapped moisture beneath the pavement makes it more susceptible to damage. This contributes to pothole problems already occurring due to this winter's numerous freeze-thaw cycles.
MDOT determines when weight restrictions begin each spring by measuring frost depths along state highways, observing road conditions, and monitoring weather forecasts. Weight restrictions remain in effect until the frost line is deep enough to allow moisture to escape and the roadbeds regain stability.
County road commissions and city public works departments put in place their own seasonal weight restrictions, which usually, but not always, coincide with state highway weight restrictions. Signs are generally posted to indicate which routes have weight restrictions in effect.
For weight restriction information and updates, call 800-787-8960, or you can access this information on MDOT's website at www.Michigan.gov/Truckers, under "Restrictions and Conditions." All-season routes are designated in green and gold on the MDOT Truck Operators Map, which is available online. You also may sign up to receive e-mail alerts.
Trucking companies located in New Jersey and Canada can obtain information by calling 517-373-6256.