Winter weights are over, road ban season is here

That +11 C forecast for Friday means an early end to the winter trucking season, and means an early end to the drilling season. Winter weights are over, now, in the south, according to the Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure in a press release on March 5.

This is roughly 10 days earlier than usual, as this announcement usually comes close to March 15 each year.

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The Ministry said, "As the weather warms and the daylight-hours increase, truckers and shippers are being reminded to begin reducing truck loads on some provincial highways.  During this time of year, secondary highways revert back to regulation weights, which will prevent damage to these roads."

“Weight restrictions are put in place at various times of the year on provincial highways as a measure to prevent damage to the surface or road bed,” Highways and Infrastructure Minister Greg Ottenbreit said.  “As the weather warms up, some roads in the province can become vulnerable to soft spots and surface cracks as the frost comes out of the roadbed.”

During the cold, dark, winter months of December, January and February, the road bed freezes and becomes stronger which supports heavier truck loads.

Due to mild temperatures in the forecast, winter weights will be removed in the southern part of the province immediately.  Effective Monday, March 9 at 12:01 a.m., any existing winter weights are removed province-wide and revert back to normal regulation weight.

Spring Road Bans

Spring road restrictions are used by the province and rural municipalities to mitigate damage to infrastructure.  Typically, these road restrictions start in March in southwest Saskatchewan and remain over a two to three-week period.

“Preserving Saskatchewan’s road network is vital for transporting goods to market,” Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities President Ray Orb said.  “By reducing weights during the spring, we can reduce maintenance costs and ensure our roadways remain intact.”

The road bans reduce allowable weights on RM roads and secondary weight provincial highways by 10 to 15 per cent and typically last about six weeks.

Nine Month Primary Weights

Originally, the nine-month primary highways are designed and constructed to carry only lower secondary weight loads.

Weights are reverted back to the design loads (secondary weight) during spring to reduce damage from the spring-thaw.

As a large province with considerable difference in climate in the north and the south, there are different dates for when the primary weights are in effect.  In the north of the province, the annual weight increase on the nine-month primary highways are from July 1 to March 31 of the following year.  In the south of the province, the annual weight increase on the nine-month primary highways will occur earlier, from June 15 to March 15 of the following year.  This change will help to sustain road conditions in the south, where spring thaw occurs earlier.

To check which highways are impacted by weight restrictions, please visit truck weight classifications and restrictions at www.saskatchewan.ca/trucking. Spring road bans will be posted as necessary under the "New Spring Order" link.

To view the interactive map showing winter weight restrictions and spring road bans, visit www.saskatchewan.ca/highwayhotline and scroll down to restrictions.  Information is also available by contacting the Highway Hotline at 511.

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