Frozen road law begins Dec. 29


Frozen road law goes into effect in stages beginning December 29, 2003

Wisconsin's frozen road law, which permits operation of heavier trucks on state trunk highways if the loads are forest products or salt and sand for winter maintenance, will go into effect in two stages this winter season. Beginning Monday December 29, 2003, the frozen road law will go into effect on and north of US 10, with some modifications to the route in Wood, Portage, and Waupaca counties. It will go into effect south of US 10 on a later date yet to be determined

"This is the fourth time in the last six years that we have phased-in the declaration," said David Vieth, Director of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation's (WisDOT's) Bureau of Highway Operations. "The declaration is issued once the ground under the pavement is frozen. That allows the maximum gross weight for trucks hauling logs or salt and sand for maintaining roads in winter to go up to 98,000 pounds."

The exemption applies only to the Wisconsin state trunk highway system, which are those roads marked with state or U.S. numbers, but does not include the Interstate highway system, with the exception of I-39 from Portage to Wausau, Vieth said.

Special permits for hauling the increased weights are not required. However, the vehicles must be legally licensed to handle the increased weights.

The higher weight limits are not in effect on county or local roads unless authorized by the local agency having maintenance authority. The higher weights may not be transported on any highways or bridges that are posted for lower limits.

Vieth said the frozen road law will remain in effect until March 1, 2004 statewide, unless an early thaw necessitates an earlier rescission of the law or continued cold weather allows for an extension of the declaration period.

The northern half of the state, as identified by this year's declaration, includes all highways of the state trunk highway system on and north of US 10 from Prescott to WIS 13 south of Marshfield, on and east of WIS 13 to WIS 80 near Pittsville; on and east of WIS 80 to WIS 173 near Babcock; on and north of WIS 173 to WIS 73 at Nekoosa; on and north of WIS 73 to WIS 13; on and west of WIS 13 to WIS 54 through Wisconsin Rapids; on and north of WIS 54 to US 10 at Waupaca, and on and north of US 10 from Waupaca to Manitowoc.

A map indicating this dividing line is available on the WisDOT Web site at or by contacting the Bureau of Highway Operations, 4802 Sheboygan Avenue, P.O. Box 7986, Madison, Wisconsin, 53707-7986, or by calling 608/266-3745.


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