Sask. begins removing winter weight allowances

Allowances for winter weights for grain trucks and other heavy vehicles on a number of Saskatchewan roads will begin to be removed starting just after midnight Thursday (March 1).

"Operators are advised to monitor their loads and watch for restrictions during this sensitive time period," provincial Highways Minister Jim Reiter said in a release late last week.

The first winter weight restrictions, for the March 1 start date, were published Friday online (click on the "New Winter Order" link).

The winter restriction orders are to be updated every Tuesday and Friday by 12:30 p.m. until March 15, at which time winter weights are no longer in effect for the entire province — thus requiring lighter loads on affected roads as the ground thaws beneath them.

Truckers will also need to be aware of upcoming spring road bans, the province said.

During the thaw period, truckers will have to keep their loads within weight limits on secondary roads during the six-week spring road ban period

Those limits will also be available at the province’s road restrictions web page. For more information truck drivers can also phone the provincial Highway Hotline: Regina and area, 306-787-7623; Saskatoon and area, 306-933-8333; from across Canada, 1-888-335-7623; and on the SaskTel cellular network, *ROAD.

"Public service"

The province on Wednesday also announced a pilot project in which its Highway Hotline will report up-to-date road conditions supplied by a group of commercial truckers.

Drivers with Saskatoon-based Ridsdale Transport will provide road condition information on 12 of their Saskatchewan routes between the hours of 8 p.m. and 8 a.m.

Conditions will be reported on Highway 1 between Swift Current and the Manitoba border, Highway 6 between Regina and Melfort, Highway 10 between Regina and Yorkton, Highway 11 between Regina and Saskatoon, Highway 16 between Saskatoon and Lloydminster, and Highway 41 between Saskatoon and Melfort.

"Our drivers and our company are on board with this project because it’s simple, it makes sense and provides an important public service to our fellow motorists," Ridsdale’s director of operations, Wayne Kowalyshyn, said in a provincial release.

Ridsdale’s drivers will phone in road conditions when they are at terminals, switch points or other normal stops along their routes — or more often in extreme weather as road conditions warrant, the province said.

The company’s dispatcher will then send reports to the Highway Hotline office, which is manned 24/7 during winter months.

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