Daily dispatch, Feb. 24: Hours regs suspended in Alabama; Michigan announces spring weight restrictions

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Trucking news and briefs for Monday, Feb. 24, 2020: 

Hours regs suspended in Alabama due to flooding
Due to flooding from excess rains across Alabama this month, Gov. Kay Ivey issued an emergency declaration, which automatically triggers a suspension of hours of service regulations for truckers providing emergency relief to flooded areas in the state.

Ivey’s declaration says flooding has caused “significant damage to public and private property and may seriously disrupt essential utility services and systems.”

Drivers hauling emergency- or disaster-related materials, supplies, goods and services for affected areas are exempt from HOS regulations. The waiver ends when drivers stop their direct assistance or when the declaration ends. The emergency declaration does not have an expiration date and says it will “remain in full force and effect for the duration of this state of emergency.”

Michigan begins spring weight restrictions
Michigan Weight Restrictions 2020 02 24 07 48The Michigan Department of Transportation and local agencies are enacting spring weight restrictions. Effective 6 a.m. Monday, Feb. 24, weight restrictions are being imposed and enforced on all state highways within the following area of Michigan to protect highways:

  • Highways north of a line on Michigan Highway 43 in South Haven east to U.S. 131 in Kalamazoo County, then south to I-94 in Kalamazoo County and east to I-69 in Calhoun County, then north to Lansing and continuing east on I-69 to Port Huron.
  • Highways south of a line on Michigan Highway 46 in Muskegon County from U.S. 31 Business Route in Muskegon east to U.S. 131, then north on U.S. 131 to Michigan Highway 46 and east to I-75 near Saginaw, then north on I-75 to Michigan Highway 25 near Bay City and continuing east on Highway 25 to Michigan Highway 46 in Port Sanilac, including the entire Thumb region. All state trunk lines between these two lines will have weight restrictions imposed and enforced.

In the restricted areas, the following will apply:

  • On routes designated as “all-season” (designated in green and gold on the MDOT Truck Operators Map), there will be no reduction in legal axle weights.
  • On routes designated as “seasonal” (designated in solid or dashed red on the MDOT Truck Operators Map), there will be a posted weight reduction of 25 percent for rigid (concrete) pavements and 35 percent for flexible (asphalt) pavements.
  • All extended permits will be valid for oversized loads in the weight-restricted area on the restricted routes. Single-trip permits will not be issued for any overweight loads or loads exceeding 14 feet in width, 11 axles and 150 feet in overall length on the restricted routes.

MDOT determines when weight restrictions begin each spring by measuring frost depths along state highways, observing road conditions, and monitoring weather forecasts. Weight restrictions remain in effect until the frost line is deep enough to allow moisture to escape and the roadbeds regain stability.