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Cold weather brings emergency trucking rule


MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) --  The State of Wisconsin has issued an emergency rule affecting many truckers. 

Due to the extreme cold weather, the Wisconsin Departments of Transportation (WisDOT) and Administration (DOA) have determined an energy emergency exists and effective immediately, have authorized motor carriers to transport overweight loads of energy resources such as fuel and oil, along with milk commodities.

During an energy emergency, WisDOT may waive the divisible load limitation of s.348.25 (4) and authorize for a period not to exceed 30 days the operation of overweight vehicles having a registered gross weight of 50,000 pounds or more and carrying energy resources or fuel or milk commodities regardless of the highways involved to conserve energy.  Such authorization may only allow weights not more than 10 percent greater than the gross axle and axle combination weight limitations, and not more than 15 percent greater than the gross vehicle weight limitations under ss. 348.15 and 348.16.

WisDOT will also allow carriers transporting energy resources to self-declare and temporarily suspend rules related to hours of service and driver qualifications (as allowed under Wisconsin Administration Code Trans 327.09 (6)).

Also beginning Saturday, Wisconsin's frozen road law will expand to include Zone 5 in the southeast portion of the state - meaning the law will be in effect statewide.  The state’s other four frost zones as designated by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) were officially declared frozen last month.

The frozen road law allows heavier loads for trucks carrying salt and sand for winter maintenance, and peeled or unpeeled forest products cut crosswise (not including woodchips) until approximately early March, unless thawing necessitates an earlier cancellation of the provision or continued cold weather allows for an extension of the declaration period.