State Eases Trucking Restrictions to Expedite Storm Clean-Up - Southern Maryland Headline News

State Eases Trucking Restrictions to Expedite Storm Clean-Up

Heavier Loads Temporarily Allowed on Highways to Expedite Snow Relief Efforts

ANNAPOLIS (February 9, 2010) – Governor Martin O’Malley on Monday issued an Executive Order for the Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration (SHA) to temporarily waive or modify truck hauling restrictions to facilitate continued post-storm response. The order supports expedited movement of equipment and supplies following this past weekend’s record snowfall and ahead of tomorrow’s anticipated snow storm.

“Our highway crews are faced with potentially running short on essential supplies,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “This action, combined with the Maryland Army National Guard deployment and eased hours of service requirements for truckers, will keep our supply lines moving as the next storm bears down on Maryland.”

Vehicles that are transporting food, fuel, salt, medical equipment or essential supplies will be allowed a 15 percent tolerance above statutory weight limits. This means trucks can carry more cargo than normally allowed on Maryland highways before going through the permitting process usually required to carry such weight. The provisions of the order apply to Maryland highways and exclude the entire interstate highway system, which is regulated by the Federal Highway Administration.

The Governor’s order enables aid, supplies and equipment to be rapidly deployed to different regions of the State. SHA is working closely with the Maryland State Police’s Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division and the Maryland Transportation Authority Police to ensure a smooth transition on Maryland roads and highways.

Additionally, SHA continues to remove hardened snow and ice from road surfaces and shoulders. Crews must use front-end loaders to either break up the ice and push it or load it into trucks and haul it way. The process is slow and requires operators to use the equipment perpendicular to traffic.

“Drivers may have a false sense of security and begin traveling at posted speeds. It is absolutely critical to use caution and be prepared to come up on stopped equipment moving snow, encrusted snow encroaching on lanes and reduced merge areas,” said SHA Administrator Neil J. Pedersen. “We’re doing everything we can to move snow as far back as possible in anticipation of more snow Tuesday afternoon.”

Source: Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA)

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