The Monroe County Highway Department has advised residents and other highway users to be prepared for the annual limitation of the weight of vehicles traveling on county highways.
Restrictions are placed each spring when the frozen ground begins to thaw, which leaves the roadbed weakened and the highway vulnerable to severe damage from heavy loads. Restrictions are placed to protect the structural integrity of the highway.
The county will issue another news release in advance of the placement of restrictions; however, restrictions may be placed at any time conditions warrant. The restrictions will take effect as soon as signs are posted on the highway.
During the time when restrictions are in place, all vehicles are limited to six tons per any one axle and 10 tons per any two axles under 8 feet apart. The highway department strongly encourages everyone to complete any heavy hauling within the next week, while the highways are still frozen.
On Feb. 22, the county highway committee adopted a policy on vehicle weight restrictions and permits that establishes limitations and provides for possible exception to or exemption from the restrictions. A copy of the policy may be found at www.co.monroe.wi.us.
Vehicles that are exempted from seasonal weight restrictions include the following:
• Vehicles transporting materials pumped from septic or holding tanks in order to address public health emergencies. This does not include routine or scheduled non-emergency pumping or maintenance.
• Vehicles operated by a public utility responding to heat, light, power or water emergencies. This does not include routine maintenance activity.
• Vehicles making an emergency delivery of propane for heating. This does not included routine or scheduled non-emergency delivery.
• School buses on official school business.
• Tow trucks engaged in the emergency recovery or transport of a disabled vehicle that is obstructing a county highway.
• Government vehicles engaged in emergency response activity.
The highway committee also determined that the transport of the following commodities may be granted an exception from seasonal weight restrictions:
• Raw milk in transport from the producer (farm) to a processing facility, provided that the hauler plans a route that minimizes vehicle weight to the greatest possible extent and that follows the shortest possible route using county highways. A permit from the highway department is required, along with a single-trip permit fee of $25 or $100 for a multiple-trip permit.
• Refrigerated food products, provided the applicant clearly demonstrates an exceptional hardship, as defined in the policy, and demonstrates that the load cannot be reasonably divided. The shortest route using county highways must be followed. A permit from the highway department is required along with a single-trip permit fee of $25 or $100 for a multiple-trip permit.
All other requests will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and are subject to a $25 single-trip permit fee. Exceptions usually are not granted for loads that can be reasonably divided, lightened or delayed.
No vehicle, with or without a permit, may exceed the limit posted on a bridge.
For more information, contact the highway department at 269-8740.