Trucks driving across Idaho will be able to carry larger loads starting July 1, as recent legislation gave approval for trucks weighing up to 129,000 pounds to drive throughout the state. While carriers were previously permitted to haul this much on several dozen state roads as part of a pilot program, the initiative will be made permanent and apply to even more roadways.
One state raises truck weight limits
Idaho's previous weight limit for trucks using state highways was 105,000 pounds. After launching an extensive pilot program that tested the impact heavier trucks had on infrastructure, it was determined vehicles weighing 129,000 pounds did not pose any damage concerns to roads, bridges and pavement. According to Transport Topics, the test period lasted almost 10 years, with more than 100 different carriers making more than 250,000 trips across the area with heavier loads, testing the impact heavier trucks would have on frequently traveled roads.
While more heavily laden trucks will be able to freely transport shipments on state roads, they will face some restrictions on highways within Idaho. Transport Topics reported although carriers weighing no more than 129,000 pounds won't face problems when they're on state roadways, approval is still pending to drive on Idaho's portion of interstate highways. The state will need to convince Congress to raise the weight limit to allow transportation companies full movement within the state.
Even though trucking companies pushed hard for the legislation, which would allow them to improve asset utilization, not all industries were pleased with the move. The railroad industry was one opponent, as it could have benefited from transporting the heavier weight shipments trucks were previously forbidden from carrying. Some local government officials also said their roads were not suited to support heavier trucks.
Fleet managers need to rework strategies in light of changes
However, with the approval of the state House of Representatives and Senate and Governor Butch Otter's signature, the bill is now law. This means companies can now plan higher weight shipments across Idaho, with higher revenue-generating potential for each truck. The increased cargo limit may help transportation companies be more productive and ship more product with fewer trucks, but it will require some changes in load planning behavior and routines on the part of fleet managers and dispatchers.
Private fleets and commercial carriers may want to add route optimization software to their operations to accommodate regional routing differences more effectively. With this technology, they can better utilize their available resources and cover more orders efficiently with the minimal number of trucks. Vehicle routing software can also be tailored to individual carrier needs and business rules to route heavy vehicles in certain ways and lighter trucks for regional pickups and deliveries in more diverse ways. This can help fleets make the best use of alternative routes for all shipments that help them conduct business with lowest total transport costs.