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TS&W Regulations Governing Trucking Along the Western Border

There are a myriad of different TS&W regulations governing trucking across the western border. The laws and regulations governing western border trucking are promulgated and administered by twelve different entities: the States of Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, and Minnesota; the U.S. Federal Government; the Provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario; and the Roads and Transportation Association of Canada (RTAC) interprovincial agreement on uniform vehicle weights and dimensions.

For longer distance crossborder trucking, such as between Winnipeg and Mexico, or Calgary and Los Angeles, or a triangular operation involving Wyoming, Idaho, and Saskatchewan, additional regulatory regimes influence fleet and loading characteristics. In total, at least 63 TS&W regulatory regimes can at some time or another influence North American trucking, including trucking across the western border.

Differences among the State gross vehicle weight (GVW) limits, for example Minnesota at 80,000 pounds, North Dakota at 105,500 pounds, and Montana at 131,060 pounds, can have as much or more of a role in designing the vehicles used in crossborder trucking as differences among Canadian Provinces and U.S. States where the GVW limit on Manitoba secondary highways is 124,300 pounds, which connect with North Dakota State highways with a limit of 105,500 pounds.

Weight Limits

Axle weight limits of 20,000 and 34,000 pounds on single and tandem axles respectively govern the axle weights of most trucking crossing the western border under regular operation. These limits apply to IS, NN and all principal State highways in the five border States. They are equal to or more restrictive than the corresponding axle weight limits specified for most connecting highways in Canada.

The de facto GVW limit is 105,500 pounds or more for most western border crossings, except for four crossings to and from Minnesota. A GVW limit of 131,060 pounds applies in Montana (except for the special ISTEA provision for a GVW of 137,500 pounds between Shelby, Montana and the Montana-Alberta border). Major highways in Minnesota are limited to 80,000 pounds GVW.

For a given GVW limit, Bridge Formula B governs the number of axles and axle spacings required of most trucking across the western border under regular operation. The formula is, for the most part, more conservative than corresponding load distribution requirements specified for connecting highways in Canada.

The combination of the requirements of Bridge Formula B, variations in its enforcement by different States (for example, North Dakota does not enforce the inner bridge requirements on non-IS highways), and the various GVW caps and length limits, now frozen by the ISTEA, and State laws has created a number of unintended consequences in

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