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February 28, 2012

Oversize & overweight trucks driving on Texas roads in record numbers

OversizeloadsignMany Texans may be on a diet, but the trucks on their highways certainly aren’t.

A record 58,514 oversize/overweight permits were issued in January, according to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. The previous one-month high was 57,139 permits in August. At the current pace, Texas could issue about 700,000 permits during the 2011-12 fiscal year that ends Aug. 31, a department spokesman said. Last year 590,980 oversize/overweight permits were issued to trucks – less than 1 percent of overall truck traffic in the state.Those permits generated $114 million for state coffers, to offset the cost of at least some wear and tear on the highways.

In August, Texas launched a Texas Permitting and Routing Optimization System (TxPROS) that allows haulers to secure permits around the clock. More than 60 percent of permits are now being issued by the self-serve, automated system, department spokesman Adam Shaivitz said. Permits may be on the rise because the new system is quick and easy for haulers to use, an official said -– and it gives them less motivation to cheat.

“There was a time when carriers might have waited several hours to get a permit, and for them time is money,” said Jean Beeman, manager of the department’s business services section. “If they felt they were waiting too long, they could possibly just go without it, and we would not know about it unless by happenstance they got stopped by police. Carriers can now go on at midnight and put in specifics for their load, get their permits right there and get their routes.”

In addition to raising revenue, permits aim to steer haulers around weight-restricted bridges, overpasses with a low clearance or other road features that could be damaged by an oversize or overweight load.

Permits are generally required for trucks carrying more than 80,000 pounds in Texas and many other states, although some members of Congress would like to increase that threshold to 97,000 pounds. About 200 companies have banded together to form the Coalition for Transportation Productivity, which argues that shipping heavier loads can be done safely while also helping companies save shipping costs, and also ultimately keep a lid on the cost of goods.

But critics of the proposal, known as the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act, say heavier trucks could speed up the already-fast rate at which the nation’s roads and bridges are crumbling.

In the Fort Worth area, 29 bridges had poor scores on their most recent inspections, a Star-Telegram review of the National Bridge Inventory earlier this year concluded. Nearly five years after a Minneapolis bridge collapse killed 13 people and injured 145, bridge conditions are arguably worse.




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Gary - Breast Cancer fighter

It's all the $$$, isn't it? What's the point in having an oversize/overweight limit unless it's a push for additional revenue.

The reason roads and bridges are crumbling may be caused by larger/heavier truck traffic but it's also a fact that periodic preventative maintenance has largely been ignored.


I bet they are drilling rigs being moved from pad to pad, wind turbine blades and all those huge pipes and rebar for the construction sites.

texas trucker

I haual over width and over weight. It is a sign of how the economy is starting to pick up.Overweight still has to meet the weight laws of each axel.The O.D. fee's and fuel tax needs to be put back into our roads not in light rail,parks etc.It is ROAD TAX for ROADS!

B Baker

The main push for gross weight increase is by companies dealing with Mexico. Gross weight for Mexico is 97,000lbs. If the weight limit is raised here it would allow shippers to ship direct without inspection or reloading. So raising weight would make it easier for someone to ship something un detected into the country.


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