Springtime restrictions on truck weights on various Manitoba roads will now be based on actual road conditions instead of hard dates on the calendar.
The provincial government on Wednesday announced a new policy in which it "will take changing weather conditions into account in determining when spring road restrictions must be put in place, instead of using pre-set start and end dates."
A new formula to calculate thawing of the roads has been drawn up and if weather conditions allow this spring, road restrictions could be in place as early as March 11 — but won’t last more than 56 days, the province said.
The new maximum of days the roads may be restricted is down from 70, the government noted.
Truckers will be also now get three days’ notice of the start and end of the restrictions, up from the current practice of two days’ notice, the province added.
"Year after year, Manitoba municipalities see a marked increase in heavy truck traffic on municipal roads during the spring weight restriction period," Doug Dobrowolski, a farmer at Domain, Man. and president of the Association of Manitoba Municipalities, said in the province’s release.
The association, he said, "supports the use of weather conditions as well as the reduction in the number of days the restrictions may be in place on provincial roads. Both these measures should help to reduce both damage to municipal roads and expense for municipalities."
Increased funding has been directed toward highway and bridge upgrades, which now mean greater weights can be allowed on a number of roads, Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Steve Ashton said in the same release.
"This latest improvement, prepared in consultation with stakeholders and heavy truck operators, will also benefit other truckers and farmers using our roads and highways," Ashton said, describing the move as "a proactive approach to adapting to climate change."
Routes such as Highways 1, 2, 6, 16 and 75 continue to be able to carry the heaviest truckloads year-round, the province noted.