The information below is a press release from the Mississippi Department of Transportation.
JACKSON, Miss. (Press Release) - This week, the Mississippi Transportation Commission (MTC) was forced to increase the number of bridge postings across the state due to the legislative change in commercial vehicle harvest weight permit limits. In the 2018 Mississippi Legislative Session, lawmakers increased the allowable tolerance for tandem axle weights by up to 10%, which translates to an additional 4,000 pounds on some loads.
Because of the weight increase, the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) was forced to reevaluate all bridges on the state-owned system to meet the new weight limits. As a result of this system-wide analysis, the number of bridges with posted weight restrictions has increased from 125 to 302.
“This increase in posted bridges will have a severe impact on commerce and travel around the state,” said Commissioner Mike Tagert, Northern Transportation District. “This is effectively restricting commerce, which is the last thing Mississippi needs right now.”
The new weight restrictions will force many commercial vehicles to alter their routes to find bridges that will be able to accommodate heavier loads. This will mean an increase in heavier vehicles over fewer bridges, which could impact the lifespan of these bridges. Traffic will include more trucks alongside passenger vehicles in these areas. Also, trucking companies will now have to travel more miles to transport loads because there will be fewer bridges available to them.
“MDOT provided information to legislators about the potential fiscal impact from this legislation,” said Commissioner Dick Hall, Central Transportation District and MTC Chair. “When changes are made to restrictions and weight limits for commercial vehicles the impacts may not be immediately obvious, but they can be far-reaching and costly.”
Eight years ago, MDOT had 226 bridges across the state that were either closed or posted. MDOT had worked diligently to repair and replace bridges to bring that number down to 125, but with the current legislation that number is now up to 302.
For a full list of closed and posted bridges that are maintained by MDOT visit: http://mdot.ms.gov/applications/PostedBridges2/index.html#home.