Prairie spring road weights may slow grain movement

(Resource News International) — Spring road restrictions in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba have been or are being implemented and are expected to limit farmers’ ability to truck out grain for the next couple of months, according to industry officials.

Select roads in Alberta have already had weight restrictions implemented.

An official with Alberta’s Transportation Department said the spring road restrictions, which have been implemented, will likely be kept in place until the end of May or June, with the actual lifting of the limits depending on how soon the frost is out of the ground.

Depending on the highway, there are different restrictions, the official said. The limitations to be implemented range from 75 per cent of legal weight to 90 per cent.

Meanwhile, Saskatchewan Highways and Transportation has issued an advisory to all truckers, farmers and drivers carrying heavy loads warning that spring road bans have been implemented in select areas of the province.

Typically, restrictions are implemented in early March in the southwest of the province and progress in a northeasterly manner across the province, the official said. Road restrictions may be in place for up to six weeks from the date of implementation.

The official said the restrictions apply to secondary-weight highways only.

The road restrictions will likely be in place until May, but the limitation in the southern regions would probably be lifted first and then gradually move northward.

Spring road restrictions in the southern half of Manitoba will be implemented March 18, while northern regions will be included on March 25, according to information from Manitoba’s Highways and Transportation.

However, some commodities in Manitoba will not require a permit when transported. Those commodities include livestock feed for producers, hay for feed intra-provincially, livestock shipped to market, drinking water, bulk milk, seed between suppliers, fuel, and fertilizer.

Commodities that will require a permit from Manitoba Highways and Transportation during the implementation of spring road bans include grain to satisfy grain quotas or contracts as well as potatoes or vegetables from producer to processor.

Depending on the class of highway and the restriction zone, the limitations in Manitoba generally range from 65 per cent to 90 per cent of legal weight.

The restrictions in the lower half of Manitoba were tentatively set to be removed May 26 while in the northern regions removal was anticipated on May 31.

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