Recommendations for farm-equipment use on public roads sent to Capitol

Study group: Report based on feedback from town hall meetings, surveys, emails, letters
Recommendations for farm-equipment use on public roads sent to Capitol

Recommendations for the use of farm equipment on public roads have been submitted to the state Legislature for consideration, according to a release.

The Implements of Husbandry Study Group prepared a report based on feedback from a series of town hall meetings and public input from surveys, emails and letters, according to the release. The report was prepared with the secretaries of the Department of Transportation and the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

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 center line of the roadway during operation to meet the lighting and marking standards of the American Society of Agricultural Engineers.
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 mph.
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 reported the need to include the Federal Highway Administration and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials in the findings to encourage the development of national standards, according to the release.

Study representatives said they hope to foster additional research where needed and encourage manufacturers to develop more road compatible equipment.

The study group also started examining the size and weight of agricultural equipment and the potential impact it has on public roads and bridges in fall 2012, according to the release.

Over 1,200 attended the town hall meetings and over 150 people, associations and companies express their opinions and shared additional information regarding the preliminary recommendations, according to the release.

The study 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.