Not everyone is excited about the early spring-like weather. In New England, thousands of miles of roads have been closed to heavy trucks for the next 3-4 weeks. The road closures are not uncommon, but they are earlier than expected. Many residents and businesses are used to the roads closing to heavy trucks in mid-April.
“It’s been a mild winter and early spring, so we can’t really complain as far as snow melt goes, but it’s not making it easier for people driving around the back roads,” said Wilmington, Vermont Town Manager Scott Murphy.
State and local officials limit truck weights on a road-by-road basis to protect certain roads from heavy truck damage when frost is melting. When the frost starts thawing out of the ground, the soil under the roads can become soft, making it unable to support heavy vehicles.
Employees at the Fort Kent, TNT Road Co. are starting their work shifts at 10 p.m. to load and deliver shipments of wood chips, bark and sawdust to biomass energy plants. The employees are forced to work overnight when temperatures fall below 28 degrees.
“It’s an inconvenience, it’s a hardship, it’s an adjustment on everybody, it’s less productive,” said owner Steve Theriault. “But we all know it’s for a short time, so we try to make the best of it. We certainly can’t control Mother Nature, so we try to work around her for a few weeks.”
If you’re traveling in New England and you’re unsure if any of the roads on your route are closed, call the Department of Transportation for that state and they may be able to re-route you around the closures.