September 26, 2022
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The state departments of transportation making up the Mid America Association of State Transportation Officials are working to establish common emergency divisible load or EDL truck weights to expedite deliveries of disaster-relief supplies.

[Above photo by the Wisconsin DOT]

“We learned the importance of working regionally during the [COVID-19] pandemic and are using those lessons to be better prepared for the next disaster,” explained Julie Lorenz, secretary of the Kansas Department of Transportation and MAASTO’s president, in a statement.

Julie Lorenz. Photo by the Kansas DOT.

“We need to help truckers speed delivery to communities by setting the same emergency weight limits and cutting red tape before the disaster hits,” she noted.

The states agreeing to implement the “MAASTO EDL Strategy” of increased truck weight limits following major disaster declarations are Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

This coordinated strategy – the first harmonized EDL management approach deployed in the U.S., MAASTO noted – seeks to expedite transportation of emergency loads during a disaster despite different bridge weight limits and varying trucking regulations among the group’s member states.

MAASTO – affiliated with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials – pointed out that its new EDL policy expands emergency interstate truck weights from 80,000 pounds to a permitted weight of 88,000 pounds, with no more than a 10 percent increase per axle.

While this represents the base level for the region, individual states may allow heavier permitted weights, MAASTO emphasized.

Photo by Kansas DOT

The group added that over $6 billion worth of goods move across the MAASTO region’s freight corridors each year, with over 70 percent of the total freight value moved by trucks, with 66 percent of that tonnage by weight moved by trucks.

“The nation’s freight corridors connect our communities, our homes and our economy,” added Lorenz. “More than 55 percent of all businesses and 60 percent of all employees reside within three miles of the major freight corridors. These critical corridor connections heighten the importance of uninterrupted freight service.”

She also hopes MAASTO’s effort to expand emergency permitted weight limits will lead to additional nationwide efforts to harmonize and create regional efficiencies in logistics and freight movement.

editor@aashto.org

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