The heavy haul (105,500 to 129,000) is a great idea, but should be allowed all the way through the state on Hwy 95 and then permitted to get off in local jurisdictions if necessary. Canada has been doing this for years, and they have some of the steepest road you will find. The speed limit, however, should be reduced for trucks over 80,000 pounds. Keep in mind that most drivers will drive 4 to 6 miles an hour over the limit, knowing they are not likely to get stopped. So 65 mph is 69 to 71. I think speed should be regulated depending on the road; the 4 lane freeway part of US 95 should be 60 mph for trucks. That means 64 to 66 mph. All other places with two lane roads should be 55 mph or 59 to 61 in the real world. And please enforce trucks tail gaiting other vehicles. Two full truck and trailer lengths following distance at a minimum should be enforced at 60 mph. When the pavement is wet, it should be doubled. I see way too many trucks loaded following at 75 to 150 ft. at 60 miles an hour. If we as truckers are prudent and safe and don't abuse the road or scare other drivers in cars, it should work pretty well. I am not sure what to do about the bicycle riders. They take way too many chances, especially on narrow two lane roads. You come around one of those blind corners at even 50 mph and there is a bicycle between the guard rail and you with oncoming traffic. Guess what. I hate to guess. It is just terribly unsafe, and sometimes there is a bike path and they are still in the road and they will not get over, even if they hold up 5 or more vehicles. This is wrong in so many ways. They are a terrible hazard and you never know when you will encounter one or several. If your mode of transportation cannot get close to the speed limit, then you need a pilot car. Anyway, let's do this and quit wasting so much time, fuel and tires.
Please reconsider allowing heavier trucks to travel between Grangeville and Lewiston. I would hope you could do something about not allowing heavier loads to travel this section of highway. There are not enough slow moving lanes up and none down the Winchester grade. There also are no runaway truck ramps. As a former ITD employee, I have seen trucks with overheated brakes and unable to stop the way it is now. Increasing the weights will be even more dangerous, let alone the damage they will do to the road. However, if you do insist on increasing weights, I would suggest you also greatly increase registration fees for all trucks since they are the major cause of road damage.
I'm particularly concerned about the 129,000 lb trucks ability to affect emergency stops along Highway 95 between Craigmont and Lewiston. Along this length of highway there are several side roads that enter Highway 95. This section of highway is known for its frequent accidents. One of the side road entrances with frequent accidents is the entrance to the Nez Perce Clearwater Casino. Because there is no acceleration lane for the Westbound traffic from the Casino, the traffic from the Casino can't get up to speed before entering Highway 95/Highway 12. This side road is also a frequent stop off for tourists to get gas, so during summer there are a lot of drivers unfamiliar with the necessity to make sure there is a lot of clearance from oncoming (from the East) traffic before they re-enter Highway 95/12. Going at the posted speed of 65mph, the probability of a 129,000 lb truck overrunning any vehicle coming out of the Casino onto the highway is pretty high. There are several other side roads along the stretch of highway from Craigmont to Lewiston.
My wife and I, last weekend, went to a restaurant that is right next to the west side of highway 95 close to the Webb Road turnoff. While we were there, there was a car accident not too far away where two people escaped from a car that left the highway and burned to become a total loss. This was during daylight hours. Again, I would like to emphasize that Highway 95 between Lewiston and Craigmont has a lot of side roads entering the highway and has a lot of accidents. Most of this section is posted 65 mph. Including the heavier 129,000 lb trucks at 65 mph in this section of highway would make it even more dangerous for the public.
I can understand allowing a 129,000 lb truck going 65 mph through this road IF it were a limited access highway. But it's not. Night time and bad weather would make it even worse. The next hazardous area would be the intersection of Highway 95/12 and 3rd Ave North in North Lewiston. This intersection and the one on the South end of the Clearwater bridge are both priorities of the MPO, because of the heavy mix of truck and vehicle traffic. Much of the truck traffic is to and from the Port of Lewiston or Clearwater Paper and Idaho Forest Products. Because there is truck and vehicle traffic from Highway 95 North, Highway 95 South and Highway 12 East and West converging on this area, the chances for accidents increase significantly compared to Highway 95 South out pass the Northeast city limits of Lewiston. It is my understanding that there may be a speed limit increase from 65 to 70mph on Highway 95 in the near future. Since there is no lower speed limit for truck traffic and there are the hazards I already pointed out, there are sure to be more accidents and more deaths, particularly on Highway 95 from Lewiston to Craigmont. There is a federal study that has been done and the final document will be published in July of this year (MAP-21 Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight Limit Study). I suggest before permitting 129,000 lb trucks on Highway 95 from Grangeville to Lewiston that you take this study under consideration. I also suggest that you look at posting lower speed limits on Highway 95 at the road areas that I talked about earlier.
Idaho Forest Group is Idaho's largest lumber manufacturer. We support safety, efficiency and cost consciousness in the transport of our lumber, logs and residuals.
We fully support ITD's process of identifying and adding new routes and understand any additional routes must be designated as structurally appropriate by ITD. The two routes currently under consideration have been judged to meet the necessary standards to be classified as a red or blue route. With that knowledge, IFG asks you to support the requested routes on sections of U.S. 95 and U.S. 12.
As one of the applicants, Baker Trucking, mentions, allowing 129,000 lbs trucks on the routes is good for Idaho business. Transporting products with 129,000 lbs trucks allows Idaho's businesses to carry goods more efficiently, reduce the number of truck trips and increase our connectivity with many of our neighboring states. This must all be done safely as well. We know not every route is the right fit for 129,000 lbs trucks, but we feel confident adding sections of U.S. 95 and U.S. 12 will help us move Idaho forward.
Clearwater Paper continues to support increasing truck weight limits on identified sections of highways in Idaho. We believe that allowing 129,000-pound trucks on approved roads is good for Idaho's economy and just makes good sense when a road has met the standard. We fully support ITD's process of identifying and adding new routes and understand any additional routes must be designated as structurally appropriate by ITD.
Transporting products with 129,000-pound trucks allows Idaho's businesses to carry goods more efficiently, reduce the number of truck trips and increase our connectivity with many of our neighboring states. The two routes currently under consideration have been judged to meet the necessary standards to be classified as a red or blue route. With that knowledge, Clearwater Paper supports the requested routes on sections of U.S. 95 and U.S. 12.
We, as members of the Right Truck for Idaho Coalition, are writing to you as a group of Idaho businesses, large and small, who represent industries from across our great state. Our products include sugar beets, potatoes, dairy, wheat, grain, sand and gravel, groceries, phosphate, and more. We are writing in the hopes that you will support increasing truck weight limits on sections of U.S. 95 and U.S. 12.
In 2013, our coalition urged lawmakers to increase truck weight limits on the 35 routes studied in the 10-year pilot project and establish a process for adding new routes if they meet the necessary engineering and safety standards. The extensive study conducted by the Idaho Transportation Department confirms that 129,000 lbs trucks are the right trucks for certain roads in Idaho. However, we recognize that not every road is appropriate for 129,000 lbs trucks and that is why the process for adding new routes is so important.
We fully support ITD's process of identifying and adding new routes and understand any additional routes must be designated as structurally appropriate by ITD. The two routes currently under consideration have been judged to meet the necessary standards to be classified as a red or blue route. With that knowledge, the Right Truck for Idaho Coalition asks you to support the requested routes on sections of U.S. 95 and U.S. 12.
As one of the applicants, Baker Trucking, mentions, allowing 129,000 lbs trucks on the routes is good for Idaho business. Transporting products with 129,000 lbs trucks allows Idaho's businesses to carry goods more efficiently, reduce the number of truck trips and increase our connectivity with many of our neighboring states. We know not every route is the right fit for 129,000 lbs trucks, but we feel confident adding sections of U.S. 95 and U.S. 12 will help us move Idaho forward.
Idaho Forest Group is the largest lumber producer in Idaho and we support safety, efficiency and cost consciousness in the transport of our lumber, logs and residual products.
We were involved with the original legislation and we followed the rule-making process and we fully support ITD's process for identifying and adding new routes and understand any additional routes must be designated as structurally appropriate by the ITD.
The two routes under consideration have been judged to meet the necessary standards to be classified and with that knowledge, IFG asks that you support the requested routes of sections of U.S. 95 and U.S. 12.
As the applicant, Baker Trucking, mentioned, 129,000-pound trucks on the right route is good for Idaho businesses and we think it's good for IFG as well as other companies and we think it's the more effective and efficient way to carry products, reduce the number of trips that can be done safely and efficiently.
We know that not every route in the state fits the criteria but we're confident that these two do and think that this will move us forward in implementing the law and the rules.
Our concerns are that little concrete box culvert at the bottom of Pine Street - on the north end of Pine Street (in Grangeville). We're not sure if it's engineered for the weight they're proposing to run with.
And we do not think that section of Pine Street will hold up to the weight they're proposing to run with. I understand he's only going with two loads. I found that out this evening so those are the two things that we're concerned about.
But the north end -- or the south end, he might be able to approach Baker Truck through that way but we don't think the lower end will hold it. You guys (ITD) might actually have the specs on that bridge because that was old Highway 95 back in the day.
And I really - I'm thinking they're favoring toward not - they don't really want it going up Pine Street. I think they would prefer it going up and around, I think. I mean it's just - you’re just hearing a little bit of vibe in the water is kind of what - I think they're waiting to see what was going to come out of this tonight.
My testimony on it is from a trucking standpoint. I see no issues at all. I feel it's a safe deal. Yes, there's increased weight but we also got more axles on the ground for more braking power.
The way - that configuration was designed to disperse the weight more out, more equal, be less ground pressure than what we're doing as we speak so - you know, you can go back to when we went from 80,000 pounds to 105,000 pounds. We're basically doing the same thing in a nutshell. More axles, more braking, more distributing it out.
I've been in the trucking business 30-plus years and I don't see any safety issues with this deal at all. If I didn't feel comfortable, I wouldn't have pursued it so - and we're also going to get more lumber moved per load. It should be less trips.
We don't know exactly what that number's going to be yet until the ball gets rolling but I think you'll see less movement of trucks than you're seeing now.
Unfortunately, we have the last leg of this whole route, you know, from city limits to Mill Road (in Nez Perce County) and we have a road that is in - Mill Road being in pretty tough shape.
A lot of rutting and deterioration on that road that has been on-going for years. And I don't at all want to hold this project up but I'm wanting to see if we can come to some common ground at least to make sure that these heavy loads are not going to have any more of an impact to our road as far as rutting and deterioration of that road.
And, you know, I spoke to the commissioners about this issue several times and they really have not taken a position on it. I think they're kind of waiting to see what my position's going to be on it and, again, I'm not for it or against it one way or the other.