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House amends transportation bill to allow heavy logging trucks on I-35

The U.S. House of Representatives passed an amendment Wednesday that would ease weight restrictions on logging trucks using the 20-mile stretch of Interstate 35 between Duluth and Scanlon in winter.

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The U.S. House of Representatives passed an amendment Wednesday that would ease weight restrictions on logging trucks using the 20-mile stretch of Interstate 35 between Duluth and Scanlon in winter.

Logging trucks in excess of 80,000 pounds currently cannot lawfully use that stretch of I-35 and are instead diverted onto city streets and county roads. But truckers like to haul as big a load as possible, saving on diesel fuel and making fewer and quicker trips from the woods to the mill. The preferred system is a six-axle truck carrying 90,000 pounds or more of wood.

Rep. Rick Nolan's amendment would permit logging trucks weighing 99,000 pounds or less to use the 20-mile stretch of I-35 during the time of increased winter weight limits set by the Minnesota Department of Transportation - typically from late November or early December through mid-February.

Nolan said his amendment alleviates the need for huge logging trucks to drive on Superior Street in Duluth.

"These trucks are prone to tip and spill their logs on sharp turns. It's happened before. And sooner or later, if we don't pass this simple fix, someone is going to be killed or seriously injured. Passing this life-saving amendment will make winter travel safer for the truckers, and safer for the drivers and pedestrians who live, work and do business in the city of Duluth," Nolan said in a statement.

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A vote is expected today on the transportation bill that includes Nolan's amendment and if passed, it then goes to a conference committee before being signed by President Barack Obama.

Related Topics: TRANSPORTATION
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