Bill to explore heavier trucks on Va. roads gets another green light

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia is exploring the option of bringing heavier trucks to its roads.

Right now, most tractor-trailers can weigh in at a maximum of 80,000 pounds. Lawmakers want to know what would happen at 91,000 pounds.

Del. T. Scott Garrett (R-Lynchburg) introduced HB1276. It calls for VDOT to form a work group to study the impact of heavier trucks.

The workgroup would examine things like safety, congestion and road wear and tear.

It’s all in case Virginia opts to participate in any future federal pilot program allowing these so-called super trucks.

“Why not,” said Jerry Little. “Be on the first step.”

The House transportation committee gave the bill the green light this week. It still has to be voted on by the full House.

Little drove overweight trucks for about 20 years. He had a permit to haul over the limit.

“The 977’s we hauled were 91,500 pounds,” he said.

Little said there would be some financial gain to upping the limit.

“If they can increase their load 80 to 90, it’s more money in their pockets,” he said.

But he also said there is some merit to concerns that have been raised. Some think it could be dangerous.

The heavier the truck, the longer it takes to brake.

The proposal to study the potential impact of heavier trucks was a scaled back version of Garrett’s original legislation. That version would have allowed Virginia to enroll in a federal pilot program. The amended legislation authorizes VDOT to review the implications of participating in such a project.

A companion bill in the Senate also passed through the transportation committee this week. That bill, SB504, was introduced by Sen. Bill Carrico (R-Grayson).

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