Brian Zinchuk is editor and owner of Pipeline Online
The winter drilling season is coming to a close. Spring breakup is here. This is the time of year when truckers and shippers must begin reducing loads on secondary highways in Saskatchewan. All secondary highways return to regulation weights, which will help prevent damage to these roads this spring.
“At various times of the year, weight restrictions are put in place on some highways as a measure to prevent damage to the surface and roadbeds,” Highways Minister Fred Bradshaw said in a release on March 14. “As the warmer weather rolls in, some roads can become susceptible to soft spots and surface cracks.”
During the coldest months of December, January and February, roadbeds freeze and become stronger, and subsequently supports heavier truck loads.
When the mild temperatures arrive, winter weights are removed. Effective at 12:01 a.m., Tuesday, March 15, any existing winter weights will be removed and revert to regulation weight.
2022 Spring Road Bans
Spring road restrictions are used by the province and rural municipalities (RM) to mitigate damage to infrastructure. Typically, these road restrictions start in March in the southwest and move in an east and northern direction. These restrictions remain in place for approximately six weeks or 42 days.
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
Saskatchewan is unique because of its nine-month primary weight highways, the province said. As a large province with considerable difference in climate in the north and the south, there are different dates for when nine-month primary weights are in effect.
In the north of the province, the annual weight increase on the nine-month primary highways is 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 helps 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 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, please visit www.saskatchewan.ca/highwayhotline and scrolling down to restrictions. Information is also available by contacting the Highway Hotline at 511.
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