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New B-train load limits expand to more Sask. roads

Saskatchewan has expanded its list of highways on which truckers can run B-train truck tractor and semi-trailer combinations with an extra tonne per load.

Grain truckers and others using B-trains will now be able to operate on the expanded list of highways at 63,500 kg, up from 62,500.

The move is part of a phased-in approach that’s expected to eventually harmonize load limits with those for commercial carriers running B-trains in Alberta and British Columbia, as per the three provinces’ “New West Partnership” agreement in April to reduce interprovincial trade barriers.

The added roads, announced Tuesday, include Highway 6 from Regina to Melfort, Hwy. 9 from Hwy. 1 north to Yorkton, Hwy. 13 from Weyburn east to the Manitoba border, Hwy. 18 from Estevan east to the Manitoba border, Hwy. 39 from Hwy. 6 to Hwy. 1 just east of Moose Jaw, and a short stretch of Hwy. 40 at North Battleford between Hwys. 4 and 29.

The province’s initial list of permitted highways back in June included the province’s “most heavily travelled” highways, such as the Trans-Canada (Hwy. 1), Yellowhead (Hwy. 16), Hwy. 11, most or all of Hwys. 3, 4, 5 and 7 and two stretches of Hwy. 2, among others.

The maximum gross vehicle weight on RTAC-grade Manitoba roads such as Hwys. 1, 16 and 2 remains a tonne lower at 62,500 kg. The top GVW on Manitoba Hwy. 3 remains 56,500 kg.

Manitoba Hwys. 2 and 3 connect with Saskatchewan Hwys. 13 and 18 respectively. However, a Saskatchewan highways ministry spokesperson said Wednesday that farm shippers and other industries in Saskatchewan’s southeast would prefer to have the increased load limits whether those limits extend into Manitoba or not.

The province said in June that the first two phases of these expanded load limits will be limited to B-trains., after which the ministry plans to assess the idea of increasing the limits to include all mid-spread tridem axle groups.

The Saskatchewan government’s package of related regulatory changes, released Tuesday, also introduces tridem drive trucks and truck tractors into provincial road regulations. Those vehicles, used mainly in the petroleum and heavy construction industries, will thus be able to operate without special single-trip or term permits.

The new regulations also allow for the introduction of aerodynamic devices, wide-based single tires and lift axles that auto-deploy on eligible trucks.

Aerodynamic devices installed at the rear of trucks, trailers and semitrailers would be excluded from a measurement of overall truck length, as long as the device doesn’t stick out more than 61 centimetres from the rear of the vehicle.

The new rules also grant truckers an exemption of no more than 30 cm out from the fronts of their vehicles for the use of heavy-duty “moose bumpers,” without those bumpers being counted in a loaded truck’s overall length.

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