MoDOT engineers respond to new law impacting state highways - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

MoDOT engineers respond to new law impacting state highways

MISSOURI (KFVS) -

The workers who maintain Missouri roads day in and day out say a new law has them worried.

This new law allows trucks to haul more than 5,000 pounds of livestock or harvest.

MoDOT is concerned the heavier loads will make our roads worse.

"Isolated routes can become damaged pretty quickly,” said MoDOT Engineer Brian Okenfuss.

With over 33,000 miles of road to maintain in Missouri Okenfuss said the new hauling privilege could result in more rapid deterioration of Missouri's highways.

"We know it is going to deteriorate our bridges faster. It is possible that you could see more bridges become weight limited or even see bridges actually close,” he said.

The change is going to impact drivers too, so he warns drivers could see more pot holes and experience rutting.

"You will basically get water in the wheel paths and it would make it harder to control your vehicle and that's why we are really concerned,” he explains.

"It really effects the safety of everybody driving the roads and most people have kids on those roads,” said Tiffany Emmer, a Missouri driver.

The new law doesn't sit well with some drivers who say they already have to work to avoid pothole pop ups.

“They can sneak up on you if you are behind a vehicle and they miss it but you might not.”

That's why Okenfuss asks that all drivers report damage they see along the highways to MoDOT so they can be fixed right away.

The law was passed by the Missouri State Legislature on Aug. 19. It takes effect on August 28.

Okenfuss said you could start to notice the problems as early as next season.

MoDOT says there are a few things for truck drivers to keep in mind.

  • Heavier truck hauling livestock, grain and grain co-products are limited to use of the state highway system. This includes U.S. routes, numbered state highways and lettered routes but excludes the interstate system. Truck carrying a reducible load at weights heavier than normal legal weight limits cannot use any portion of an interstate highway.
  • Pre-loading preparation should include checking the intended route to ensure the bridges on the highway are rated to carry heavier loads. If the intended route includes a weight restriction that is less than the planned gross weight of the load, choose another route or load up to or just less than the gross weight restriction. You can click here for a list of load-posted bridge locations.
  • MoDOT advises haulers to pay sharp attention to tires and brakes. Tires must be in good condition and rated to carry the heavier load. Heavier loads of shifting material require excellent braking systems.

To find out how you can report and road damage to MoDOT, click here.

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