Winning the West

17 April 2008

Based on a formal proposal from SC& RA and a cooperative effort with California based transportation groups including the California Trucking Association, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has issued a new tridems policy allowing up to 60,000 pounds bonus weight on a qualifying tridem axle group.

To qualify for the bonus 60,000 pound weight on purple coded routes in California, a tridem group must:

• Be no closer than 25 feet from center of last axle to center of first axle, to the next tridem axle group

• Be inspected laden if containing mechanical distribution unit

• Not be close coupled

• Measure no less than eight feet and no greater than 10 feet from center of the first axle to the center of last axle in the group.

• Have a minimum width of eight feet at outside tire bulge

• Not contain more than two bonus weight, tridems per vehicle combination

• Not be a crane

For several years, SC& RA has been working with the state of California, Nevada and Arizona, requesting that they increase the allowable weight loads on tridem axles to 60,000 pounds for routine permit issuance. California was the first state to change policy on this important industry concern.

The lack of uniforminty forced motor carriers to make arrangements to transfer loads to different configurations to complete their movement of goods, wasting money and time, according to Doug Ball, SC& RA vice president of transportation. “It is not an efficient utilization of equipment and resources,” he says.

As a member of the California Transportation Permits Advisory Council (CTPAC), SC& RA helped formulate recommend-ations concerning policy changes and implementation that were forwarded to Caltrans. The one significant goal was to enhance reciprocity of trunnion and tridem weight allowances (where possible) and to increase the weight allowance on tridems to 60,000 pounds.

SC& RA has already proposed to Arizona officials the same tridem weight allowance now allowed in California, and Ball says the organization is in the midst of negotiations in that state. As well, the organization is working with Colorado officials to review data being sent by California and Arizona on trunnion utilization for consideration of weight increase, and enhanced uniformity.

SC& RA staff and its specialized transport members continue to engage state agencies in meetings to present factual information to change restrictions and create more uniform equipment rules, Ball says. Recently, New Mexico agreed to increase weight allowances on trunnions with a bonus of 25 percent.

“While this was a long time coming, we never lost focus and always presented our position in a consistent and professional manner,” says Ball. “Now we will focus on Arizona, Colorado and Ohio.”

These significant changes are a result of continuing efforts by industry and state officials to address increasingly difficult transportation realities. SC& RA – with partnerships, alliances and member efforts – is affecting change to meet industry needs.

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