Why is it Necessary to Limit Loads on Spring Roads?

Why is it Necessary to Limit Loads on Spring Roads?

We have written about spring thaw a few times on this blog, which should give some indication of how important it is to be actively aware of it. As a yearly event that could potentially cost you thousands in completely avoidable fees and delays, spring thaw is worth taking a moment to refresh yourself on. 

What is Spring Thaw? 

While the early days of spring are perfect for starting anew or falling in love, it is havoc on concrete roads. That’s because, during these inter-seasonal months, it’s still cold enough for water to freeze at night, and as it does, it expands in the cracks and crevices of the concrete. Then, during the day, it thaws, and this heave-ho of moisture leaves behind holes and fissures that weaken the overall structure of the roads by 30-70% compared to summer roads. Add in several thousand tons of metal and fury bearing down on these weakened asphalts over the course of days and weeks, and you no doubt have already begun to notice the result during your morning commute.

Of course, this is even more significant in places where the temperature variance is more severe, with northerly locations having melting and refreezing frost depths well below the roads' foundations. As a result, the actual rules and regulations during this period vary by location, so it behooves you to know your route and trust the experience of your freight manager.

Why are Spring Thaw Road Restrictions in Place?

There isn’t much that can be done to stop this meteorological event from happening, but there are steps that can be taken to try and preserve the roads - an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, after all.

Motor vehicle regulatory bodies regularly implement ‘Spring Thaw Regulations’ during this season to try to reduce the weight on these already weakened roads. The exact rules vary from province to province in Canada and state to state in the US, but they are all geared around reducing axle weight on large cargo vehicles. The hope is that a sufficiently reduced weight works to take the pressure off the asphalt during this season of instability. Typically, regulations can result in a reduction of between 8 and 20% in overall capacity for overland travel.

Canadian and US Spring Thaw Weight Restrictions

As previously mentioned, spring thaw regulations differ from country to country and region to region, and there are even certain areas within a region that are affected more so than others. Below is a list of a few of the common regions affected by this seasonal event, but it should be noted that it is far from comprehensive. We encourage you to investigate planned routes ahead of time, either on the appropriate governmental site or with the help of your freight management team.

Canada Frost Laws 

US Thaw Laws

Trust Your Freight Management Team 

This is a famously challenging time for overland freight, particularly less-than-trailer-load (LTL) trucks that haul multiple shipments of goods on one trailer. That means an 8-20% reduction in your truck's profitability. Fortunately, there are steps a skilled freight management team, like the one you’ll find at PCB, can take to salvage some of that.

Firstly, we can help keep your load in compliance before it leaves. Yes, an 8-20% reduction in weight is a significant loss, but being over and getting caught is a quick way to get further delays and a big fine. We can ensure that, at a bare minimum, you are within the letter of the law before you hit the road. 

Next, we can make sure you are within compliance for the route your shipment plans on taking, and can even offer expertise when planning that route. The maximum amount a shipment can hold is the lowest of the regions a truck is passing through, so knowing each region’s weight restrictions and planning accordingly can yield demonstrable results for your bottom line during this period.

Finally, we can help you resolve any issues or challenges your carrier faces, and we can even report the solution and results back to you once the matter is resolved. That’s expert solutions to issues on the ground as they happen, ensuring that your driver can keep moving quickly and effectively. At the same time, you make the most out of a very challenging season for importers.

Contact the freight team at PCB today to see what bespoke solutions we can offer to get your business through this season unscathed!

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About Author
Alexandra Haukaas

Alex Haukaas is a logistics professional who has been in the freight forwarding, NVOCC, and brokerage industries for over 18 years. Alex has worked in all modes of transportation, including air, ocean, truck, rail, and project cargo. Her successful management style is a hands-on approach to identifying her team's strengths, which results in a positive and cohesive work environment. In 2022, Alex was recognized by the Surrey Board of Trade for her exemplary work throughout the pandemic and received the Surrey Women in Business Corporate Leader Award.

While we strive for accuracy in all our communications, as the Importer of Record it is incumbent upon your company to ensure that you are aware of the requirements under the new regulations so that you maintain compliance as always.