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Recommendations made on use of farm equipment on public roads

September 23, 2013

Implements of Husbandry Study Group sends report to Wisconsin Legislature

Final recommendations on the use of farm equipment on public roads have been submitted to the Wisconsin Legislature for consideration.

After analyzing feedback from a series of town hall meetings and public input from surveys, emails and letters, the Implements of Husbandry (IoH) Study Group prepared a Phase II Addendum Report to the secretaries of the Department of Transportation (WisDOT) and the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). Those recommendations were forwarded today to legislative transportation committees.

In all, over 1,200 attended the town hall meetings and over 150 individuals, associations and companies expressed their opinions and shared additional information regarding the Study Group's preliminary recommendations.

"The IoH Study Group did a thorough job of looking into the effect of agricultural equipment on pavement and structures," said WisDOT Secretary Mark Gottlieb. "The group's recommendations balance the need for agricultural productivity with the prudent management of our highway system."

"It's important to remember these recommendations were drafted after listening to what people in the agricultural community had to say," added Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Secretary Ben Brancel. "These options allow farmers to do their job while recognizing the need for public safety and the protection of our infrastructure. It's now up to the legislature to decide."

Final recommendations include:

  • Create a clearer, simpler definition of IoH to reflect today's agricultural equipment, which would also include a definition for commercial motor vehicles used exclusively for agricultural operations.
  • Require all IoH that cross over the centerline of the roadway during operation to meet the lighting and marking standards of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ASAE S279).
  • Create a 60-foot limit for a single IoH and a 100-foot limit for combinations of two IoH. For combinations of three IoH the limit is 70 feet, but a three IoH combination may operate at lengths exceeding 70 feet, to a limit of 100 feet, at a speed no greater than 20 miles per hour.
  • Create a new IoH weight limit which is up to 15 percent weight allowance more than currently established by the federal bridge formula. This equates to a maximum single axle weight of 23,000 pounds and a maximum gross vehicle weight of 92,000 pounds except where posted and during periods of spring thaw.
  • Require written authorization to exceed weight limits. Each year, IoH operators may submit a travel or route plan and request written authorization to exceed the weight limit from the maintaining authority of the roadways. A nominal fee may be charged and additional conditions may be set by each maintaining authority. IoH vehicles operating in excess of the 15 percent allowance will be fined for the amount in excess of standard gross motor vehicle weight or individual axle weight.
  • Support exploration of best practices to assist in reducing the wear of roadways and structures. This includes the development of emerging innovations and best practices in manure management.
  • Develop further training requirements for the operation of large IoH equipment. Age requirements are to remain as presently allowed in statute, but the group recommends developing advanced training for operating larger and heavier IoH.

The Study Group also sees the need to advance these issues to groups such as the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) to encourage the development of national standards. This approach will foster additional research where needed and encourage manufacturers to develop more road compatible equipment.

The IoH Study Group started examining the size and weight of agricultural equipment and the potential impact it has on public roads and bridges in fall 2012. The group, brought together by WisDOT and DATCP, includes representatives from various transportation and farm organizations, equipment manufacturers, law enforcement, local officials and the University of Wisconsin-Madison/Extension.

The IoH Study Group Phase II Addendum Report, with the detailed recommendations, is available at the WisDOT web site.

For more information, contact:
Kathy Scholl, WisDOT Office of Public Affairs
(608) 266-6752, kathleena.scholl@dot.wi.gov

 

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