Illinois uniform truck weight limits take effect Jan. 1
Generally truck length limit not changed on local roads
Published on: Dec 18, 2009
The General Assembly passed and Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation that included authorization for uniform truck weight limits up to 80,000 pounds. The change takes effect Jan. 1, 2010.
Kevin Rund, Illinois Farm Bureau senior director of local government, has provided answers to common questions about the new law:
Will 80,000-pound trucks be allowed on every road?
Rund: No. State and local road jurisdictions retain the authority to temporarily and/or permanently post roads and bridges with lower weight limits. Some roads will be posted at lower limits; many bridges already have been posted.
How am I supposed to know what limit applies?
Rund: The 80,000-pound gross vehicle weight limit applies unless a lower weight limit has been posted on signs along that road.
Will limits be uniform on all roads in 2010?
Rund: The state will have uniform default weight and width limits on all roads starting in 2010. Any variations must be posted. However, allowable truck length differences will exist still. Generally they are 65 feet on state roads but 55 feet on local roads.
Does this mean all roads have to be rebuilt to handle 80,000-pound trucks?
Rund: No. There is no mandate to re-engineer road systems. Many local roads, when dry or frozen, easily can accommodate the heavier trucks.
What about width restrictions?
Rund: Legislation also established a uniform truck width of 102 inches on all roads starting Jan. 1, 2010.
What about vehicle lengths?
Rund: Allowable lengths for truck and trailer combinations were not changed. Combinations on non-designated local roads still are limited to 55 feet in overall length.
After Jan. 1, if a road is posted at a maximum limit of 73,280 pounds of gross vehicle weight, will lower axle weight limits also apply?
Rund: No. The 2009 legislation eliminates the old formula. Unless reduced axle weight limits are posted on a road, the federal bridge formula limits for axles apply regardless of the posted maximum gross weight limit.
What is the bridge formula?
Rund: It is an engineering equation used to calculate the maximum gross and axle weight for trucks and trailers. The calculated weight limits apply to both bridges and pavement.
Will overweight permits still be available?
Rund: Yes. However, they can be issued for only non-divisible loads and are not typically issued for roads that have a weight limit posting.
Will harvest season permits still be available?
Rund: Yes. These can be issued for loads of grain. Remember they provide only for increased axle weights -- not gross weights -- and they must be obtained from each road jurisdiction on whose roads the driver will be traveling.
Will bridges and roads be treated uniformly or differently?
Rund: The limit posted for a road might be higher or lower than the limit posted for a bridge along the same route. On state routes, drivers should see advance warnings of bridge weight limits, giving them a chance to take a different route. Local roads authorities are not required to provide advance notice of bridge weight postings, so drivers will need to scout local routes in advance to know what weights are allowed.
How will overweight violations be treated?
Rund: The 2,000-pound tolerance provision will remain in effect, but the overweight fines will double in 2010.
Will weight limits change for farm equipment?
Rund: No. Implements of husbandry, other than cargo units, generally remain exempt from standard weight limits. Farm wagons, fertilizer buggies, sprayers, and nurse tanks are all limited to 36,000 pounds gross vehicle weight.
Have speed limits for trucks been affected?
Rund: Yes. In 2010, the maximum speed limit for big trucks on interstate highways will be 65 mph. However, as long as the lower speed limit signs remain posted, that lower limit will apply.