Seasonal Load Limits: A Heavy Topic

Hefty Loads Can Damage Spring Roads

These photos illustrate why every spring, the ministry sets seasonal load limits on certain highways, for heavy vehicles.

This truck was headed northbound on Highway 97 with a load of steel balls for a mine, in April 2006. It met the commercial load restrictions at the time for the highway. However, after parking on an adjoining municipal road for a few minutes, the truck and its load sunk into the road.

Spring roads may not hold big loads, as the driver of this truck discovered.

During the spring, the road beds contain a high amount of moisture due to snow pack melt and heavy rains. This high water content weakens the road by making the base soft and spongy. Seasonal load restrictions protect provincial highways during the vulnerable period, by requiring commercial drivers to reduce the load they haul on specific routes, or to choose a road less affected by spring runoff. The ministry monitors the road network daily to add or remove the restrictions, as soon as roads need it.

Damage to the municipal road, after the truck sunk almost up to its axles in asphalt

With spring thawing underway in parts of B.C., seasonal road restrictions are in effect on some routes. See: Seasonal Load Restrictions.

For more about how seasonal load restrictions are established, see: How Much Load Can that Road Hold?

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