In 2003, Idaho legislators approved a pilot program that was designed to test the effects of heavier trucks on highways.
“The pilot project began in 2003 with 16 specified routes. Another 19 routes were added in 2007. According to the Idaho Transportation Department, 264,169 pilot project trips were made between fiscal years 2004 and 2012. Sugar beets, hay and feed were the main agricultural commodities hauled,” the Capital Press reported.
“There were selected highways that were chosen to run a test study to see what kind of effects the overall weight would do to the roadways. We’re at the ten year mark on that study and the results have been passed on to the legislatures” said Nathan Jerke, Idaho Transportation Department.
One of the carriers involved in the pilot program says it saved $2.5 million by reducing the total number of loads.
This session, legislators will consider a proposal that would allow trucks that weigh from 105,000 to 129,000 pounds to operate on approved state highways.
On Wednesday, Idaho transportation officials acknowledged a weight increase would enhance freight mobility and promote economic opportunity, without compromising highway safety.
Many trucking groups have expressed their support of the bill and say they expect the proposal to pass.