Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Truck Size and Weight Project

 

trucks on highway

Truck size and weight project

About the project

Truck size and weight laws affect all Minnesotans. They influence the price of the goods we buy and the condition of the roads we drive on. MnDOT reviewed truck size and weight laws during a truck size and weight project in 2006. As part of this project, meetings with public and private stakeholders were held around the state to talk about existing state laws regarding allowable commercial truck weight limits, lengths and widths. The results of this study may be used to recommend changes, including restrictions and conditions, and introduce legislation during future legislative sessions.

Goals

  • Propose changes to Minnesota’s laws that provide for increases in heavy-truck size and/or weight limits when traveling on state and local roads and bridges, in order to support the State’s economic growth.
  • Develop and apply an approach to evaluating the impacts of truck size and/or weight increases, with and without various restrictions or conditions, on the State’s roads and bridges.
  • Specify the requirements that must be met by vehicles operating at these higher allowances, for example, vehicle configurations, designated roads, number of axles, times and seasons of travel, fees, safety requirements.

Key tasks

  • Review existing TS&W laws in Minnesota including limits, exceptions, spring load restrictions, permitting and enforcement.
  • Review laws in bordering states and provinces, innovative practices elsewhere and advances in equipment safety.
  • Review industry needs, logistics patterns and trends, and the impacts of existing laws.
  • Evaluate the impact of changes in TS&W laws including infrastructure, safety, economic development and enforcement.
  • Recommend changes, including restrictions and conditions, and introduce legislation during future legislative sessions. Outreach meetings with numerous public and private stakeholders have been held throughout the state.

Background

Laws regarding allowable weight limits, lengths, and widths of commercial motor vehicles are designed to ensure safe vehicle operation on Minnesota’s roadways and to preserve the state’s investment in highway and bridge infrastructure. Federal laws govern limits on the Interstates and other selected state highways. TS&W laws affect the cost of transportation for Minnesota’s freight shippers and carriers. At the same time, studies have documented the impacts of heavily loaded and overloaded trucks on pavement surfaces and bridge structures.

In recent years, the Legislature has approved many exceptions and special provisions to state laws governing TS&W on state and local roads. In light of changing patterns of economic growth and logistics, continued increases in truck traffic, and numerous requests for changes to laws, it has become apparent that a comprehensive review of Minnesota’s state TS&W laws is needed.