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Wisconsin DOT opens new weigh station in Sparta

The Sparta SWEF replaces an obsolete West Salem facility.

Wisconson just celebrated the completion of the state’s newest Safety and Weight Enforcement Facility (SWEF) in Sparta.

On Friday, federal, state, and local officials participated in a ribbon-cutting event at the facility, which is located along eastbound I-90 near Sparta.

Technology in this facility will allow Wisconsin State Patrol inspectors to more efficiently weigh and complete safety checks on large trucks, according to Wisconsin DOT.

Currently, approximately 2,800 commercial trucks pass this location on a daily basis. By 2027, Federal Highway Administration officials estimate that number will grow to over 4,000 trucks daily.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) paid for more than 80% of costs incurred to construct this facility; total, the facility cost $11 million.

Wisconsin State Patrol Captain Brian Ausloos commented, ““Along with protecting highway infrastructure, this modern SWEF will support our economy by minimizing delays for ever-increasing volumes of freight traffic while enhancing safety for all travelers.”

The features of the facility were listed in a press release as:

  • Operations area with an optimal 270-degree view of the highway, ramps and parking area along with workspace and counter area for customer service;
  • Automatic vehicle identification systems allowing pre-screened commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) to bypass the facility using in-cab transponders;
  • Mainline (Interstate) and on-ramp weigh-in-motion scales that measure a truck’s weight as it is moving. Trucks identified as potentially overweight are directed to the SWEF’s static scales, enhancing efficiency for State Patrol staff and CMVs;
  • An indoor, two-bay truck inspection facility with inspection trenches and brake testing systems to allow efficient and thorough examinations of a vehicle’s safety equipment;
  • 30 CMV parking stalls (including one parking spot for an oversize/overweight vehicle) along with 24-hour access to vending and restrooms to help CMV drivers meet federally-mandated rest requirements;
  • A 34-person classroom allowing CMV training opportunities including cadets from the State Patrol Academy at Ft. McCoy;
  • A backup generator and communications system allowing the Sparta SWEF to serve as an emergency command center; and
  • LED lighting, geothermal heating and ventilation to minimize maintenance and save on utilities.

The Sparta SWEF replaces an obsolete West Salem facility. The old facility was built in 1960 and was due for a few upgrades. Wisconsin DOT reported that concrete from the demolished West Salem site was re-used as base-course in the construction of the Sparta SWEF.