Manitoba eases load limits for grains, livestock, vegetables, fertilizer

'Essential' commodities allowed at normal axle weights on more roads

Springtime load limits on certain Manitoba highways will be lifted early this year for transport of crops, livestock, fertilizer and other “essential” goods.

Provincial Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler announced Tuesday that certain essential goods may be trucked at “normal loading” axle weights on highways usually subject to Level 1 road restrictions during spring thaw.

Essential commodities can also be trucked at normal loading on roads subject to Level 2 load limits, if the highway links two points on the truck’s itinerary that are less than 10 kilometres apart — or in any other case if the highway is the most direct route between a point on the itinerary and the nearest highway not subject to Level 2 limits.

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Normal loading will also be allowed if the “essential” goods in question are being trucked between midnight and noon during the first 14 days of the province’s restriction order, or at any time of day after the 14th day.

For the purposes of the province’s order, “essential” goods include groceries, medical supplies, fuel, fertilizer, bulk milk, potable water for non-industrial use, emergency equipment and materials, and Canada Post-related mail delivery, as well as livestock, feed in transit, and hay for feed in transit within Manitoba.

Transporting grain to satisfy grain quotas or contracts — or transporting potatoes or vegetables from producer to processor — at normal loading weights during the load limit period usually requires a permit, but will not require one for the 2020 spring season.

The exemptions announced Tuesday won’t allow vehicles to travel over any bridges or other structures at weights beyond those structures’ posted limits, the province noted.

For other commodities and goods, spring load limits took effect Friday (March 27) in Zone 1A (all of southern Manitoba, the Interlake and western Manitoba up to Dauphin and Russell) and Monday (March 30) in Zone 1B (western Manitoba around Swan River, Roblin and Ethelbert).

Further north, spring load limits take effect Friday (April 3) in Zone 2, which includes The Pas, Flin Flon, Cross Lake, Grand Rapids and Norway House, and on Monday (April 6) in Zone 3, which includes Thompson, Gillam, Lynn Lake, Leaf Rapids and Churchill.

“In order to allow vehicles to more easily transport essential goods during the current COVID-19 pandemic, we are easing spring road restrictions in certain circumstances,” Schuler said Tuesday in a release.

“This will help ensure communities continue to have access to items such as medical supplies, groceries and emergency equipment at this crucial time.” — Glacier FarmMedia Network

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