Industry News

Ohio DOT Adds New Permit System Functionality

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Ohio Department of Transportation will soon be adding new functionality to the Ohio Hauling Permit System (OHPS).

This new functionality will be specific to loads greater than 225,000 lbs. for a trial period and later will encompass all overweight loads in Ohio. This functionality should increase the speed of issuing permits and will also provide some new self-issue abilities for certain vehicles.

The system will go live for the reusable bridge studies on 10/06/2020 at 4:30 pm

Here are some more specifics and benefits of the updates:

  • Bridge study IDs are for loads weighing 225,000 lbs. or more (will have for loads weighing less soon)
  • Permits will self issue with a valid Bridge Study ID and will not require office review
  • Bridge Study IDs are valid for 30 days, you may use up to and including the 30th day. (expiration date of the permit does not matter)
  • Bridge Study IDs can only be used if the following apply: Same company name, same route, same weights, spacings and overall length. Width and height can be the same or less than what was approved originally.

WCS Permits will continue to communicate with the state of Ohio to fully understand the benefits of the new system with the hopes of improving permit turnaround for customers.

Hurricane Sally Hours Regs Suspended, I-10 Closure

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As a result of Hurricane Sally, a Cat 2 hurricane that hit the Gulf Shores Wednesday, the FMCSA has suspended hours regs for relief haulers along the Gulf Coast and a portion of Interstate 10 at the Alabama/Florida line is closed.

Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has shut down Interstate 10 from the Alabama-Florida border to the Escambia Bay Bridge in Florida.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a regional emergency declaration for Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi, allowing carriers providing emergency relief in the affected areas to waive the hours of service regulations.

The waiver applies to carriers providing direct assistance supporting emergency relief efforts transporting supplies, goods, equipment and fuel.

The agency also waived Temporary Operating Authority Registration fee for carriers requesting temporary authority to provide direct assistance to emergency relief efforts.

The storm has brought heavy rainfall and according to the National Hurricane Center, Sally is now a tropical depression, but it’s bringing new flood threats to Georgia and South Carolina Thursday. Widespread flash flooding is expected.

Additional Road Closures

FDOT also announced late Wednesday night that Garcon Point Bridge in Santa Rosa County will remain closed until further notice to give inspectors the opportunity to assess damage to the structure caused by Hurricane Sally.

The closure is in addition to the Pensacola Bay Bridge, which will remain closed for at least the next 30 to 60 days to repair damage.

Interstate 275 Truck Restrictions Removed

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While work continues on the Interstate 275 repaving and bridge project, the east and westbound lanes of I-275 are now in their original configuration, and the following truck restrictions are removed:

  • 10’ wide
  • 75’ length
  • Weight restriction of 120,000 pounds

Please keep in mind that various lane closures will be in place through November, or until full completion of the project.  

Tuesday-Friday, Sept. 15-18:

  • Single- and double-lane closures on I-275 East and West between Four Mile Road and the Kentucky side of the Combs Hehl Bridge nightly from 7 p.m. until 6 a.m. the following morning.

All work will be contingent upon the weather. Arrow boards and/or signs will alert motorists of the work zone and restrictions, and motorists are reminded to stay alert, reduce their speed and watch for stopped traffic while passing through the work zone.

Highway and Permit Office Closures in OR & WA Due to Wildfires

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There are various highway closures in Washington and Oregon, and Oregon’s permit office is closed due to the wildfires on the West Coast.

In Oregon, the are fires 30 miles east of Salem, OR which is where the Oregon Department of Transportation permit office is. As a result the office is closed and there are few updates as to when they will re-open or continue issuing permits.

WCS customers will probably not be issued any OR oversize load permits today as a result. Expect delays once the permit office re-opens.

Highway Closures

Oregon has the following closures due to wildfires listed on TripCheck:

  • U.S. Highway 199 (Redwood Highway), two miles north of O’Brien from milemarker 34 to 41
  • Oregon Highway 99 is closed between milemarkers 9 and 17
  • Oregon Highway 138 is closed one mile west of Glide between milemarkers 16 and 83
  • Oregon Highway 213 is closed at the intersection with Oregon Highway 211
  • Oregon Highway 224 is closed between milemarkers 18 and 50
  • Oregon Highway 242 is closed between 85 and 55
  • Oregon Highway 422 at the intersection with Oregon Highway 62 from milemarker 0 to 5

TripCheck will have the most real-time updates available.

Washington DOT reports the following highway closures due to fire activity:

  • Washington Highway 173 in both directions from milemarker 2.5, just west of Bridgeport, to milepost 11 at Brewster
  • Washington Highway 410 in both directions between milemarker 13.37 near 181st Ave East and milemarker 11.46 near 166th Ave East

There are other high impact areas to be aware of, which are listed on the Washington State Travel Alerts Page.

Tropical Storms Result in Oversize Travel Restrictions

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Tropical Storms Marco and Laura will both make landfall over the next two days affecting oversize travel in Florida and Texas, with more restrictions anticipated in Alabama, Louisiana and portions of the lower Mississippi Valley.

The twin storms will bring heavy rainfall and high winds and there is a chance Laura could quickly escalate to a hurricane with a dangerous threat of storm surge along parts of the Louisiana and Texas coasts.

Florida has already issued an oversize load travel restriction while Texas is allowing for self-issue disaster relief permits.

Here are the updates/restrictions so far affecting oversize travel and oversize load permit issuance.

A Regional Emergency Declaration was issued for Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.

This Declaration addresses the emergency conditions creating a need for immediate transportation of supplies, goods, equipment, fuel and persons and provides necessary relief. 

Florida

Any truck over the following dimensions cannot travel throughout the state until further notice:

  • 14’6 tall
  • 10′ wide
  • 80′ long
  • 80,000 lbs

Texas

Update: Due to storms in the Gulf of Mexico, some TXDOT Districts are prohibiting OS/OW movement on all or substantial portions of their roadways until further notice. Permit applications may be denied or delayed. The current affected areas are as: Beaumont District – all counties; Houston District -Galveston County 

Motor carriers transporting a divisible load that is overweight only to and within the areas affected by Tropical Storms Marco and Laura may self-issue a Federal Disaster Relief Permit through the Texas Permitting and Routing Optimization System (TxPROS).

The Federal Disaster Relief Permit allows for travel on all state and federal roads, including the interstate highway system. The permit may not be used for overwidth, overlength, or overheight loads.

A copy of the President’s declaration must be carried with the permit. The declaration can be found here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/news/ or https://www.fema.gov/disasters/disaster-declarations

Alabama

As a general rule, a driver must be able to see 1,000 ft in front to safely travel. If that can’t be done, travel is not permitted.

Louisiana

Interstate 10 in southwest Louisiana is completely closed to traffic. I-10 eastbound is closed at the Texas/Louisiana state line, and I-10 westbound is closed west of the Atchafalaya Basin. Updated info is available on the Louisiana Department of Transportation & Development website.

LA/TX Line

Everything south of LA-6 is closed due to the storm.

Ohio River “Cairo” Bridge to Shut Down

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The Ohio River “Cairo” Bridge will shut down for at least 30 days starting the week of August 3-9, which will result in an 82-mile detour for truck drivers traveling through Kentucky.

The bridge carries U.S. 51, U.S. 60, and U.S. 62 traffic across the Ohio River between Wickliffe, Kentucky, and Cairo, Illinois, at U.S. 51 Kentucky mile point 7.372, according to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC).

Crews will be making repairs to a 2-mile section of the Kentucky approach and to the bridge deck.

“By closing the bridge for 30 days,” said KYTC District 1 Chief Engineer Kyle Poat, “we speed up the construction process so we can get the bridge back to near-normal traffic flow sooner rather than later. Some of the options included overnight and weekend closures. Those options created numerous side issues for cross-country travelers, area businesses, truckers, and our daily commuters. The additional construction time would have extended the impact to traffic by 12 weeks.”

Approximately 7,000 vehicles cross the bridge each day. Thirty-five percent of those vehicles are trucks.

Updated Michigan Spring Weight Restrictions

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Effective 6:00 a.m. Friday, May 8, 2020, weight restrictions will be lifted on all state trunkline highways within the entire state of Michigan. 

This spring weight restriction update does not alter or affect the direction given in Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-44 (COVID-19).

Weight Restrictions are implemented during the spring frost thaw period and are now completed for the 2020 season. The anticipated timeframe for Spring Weight Restrictions is February through May. Specific dates will be determined by weather and road conditions and posted again when the 2021 season begins. 

WCS Permits Can Help

WCS Permits works closely with all states to stay up-to-date on industry-related changes and news, including permit issuance changes during the COVID-19 pandemic. WCS has a full staff, including 65 permit agents ready to answer questions and issue oversize load permits.

If you have any questions about our oversize load permit services, please feel to Contact Us Online now or call us at (888) 737-6488 to reach our permit department.

AB 5 Injunction Upheld by Federal Appeals Court

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An Injunction was recently upheld by a federal appeals court regarding California’s Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5) independent contractor law.

The court denied an effort to temporarily lift a preliminary injunction issued in January against the trucking component of a California law that would restrict how independent workers can be classified by companies.

The law could potentially remove opportunities for drivers to own their own businesses and work as independent owner-operators in the state, as it would reclassify independent contractors as employees.

The order, filed on March 30 in the U.S. Court of Appeals, denied a motion filed by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters that sought a stay of the lower court’s injunction, and also said it will fast-track oral arguments on a request for review of that decision filed by the Teamsters and California Democratic Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

The ruling ties back to a lawsuit filed by the California Trucking Association (CTA) that challenges AB 5, and now opens the doors for the appeals court to hear oral arguments as soon as early July, according to lawyers representing the CTA.

In January, a San Diego judge issued a preliminary injunction against the trucking component in California’s Assembly Bill 5 (AB5). The legislation would have reclassified tens of thousands of independent contractors as employees. The same judge had previously issued a temporary restraining order against the law, which was challenged by the CTA last year.

For more information about the appeals court denial, please click here.

Ohio Special ​Blanket Permit for Haulers

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In an effort to assist in the state’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Ohio Department of Transportation has approved a special blanket permit for haulers carrying heavy or oversized loads of food, non-alcoholic beverages, medical supplies, cleaning products, and other household goods. 

The blanket permit applies to travel on roads and bridges maintained by the Ohio Department of Transportation (Interstate, U.S. and State Routes. Hauler loads may not exceed a maximum of 90,000 pounds gross vehicle weight and must comply with all posted bridge weight and height restrictions. Loads exceeding 90,000 pounds gross vehicle weight MUST contact the ODOT Special Hauling Permits main office line at 614-351-2300 during normal business hours (7:30am-4:30pm Monday through Friday).

Haulers can download and print the special permit here. They must travel with a copy of it and a copy of Form OS-1A.

The hauler is also required, within 24 hours after the trip is completed, to report back to the department where they travel and how much weight they carried using the Emergency Moves Report Form.

The Department will use this information to monitor road and bridge conditions along the routes traveled by the heavyweight vehicles.

This process is in place as long as the COVID-19 emergency response are ongoing.

WCS Permits Can Help

As always, everyone here at WCS Permits & Pilot Cars is ready to help you! We keep all of our drivers and dispatchers as up-to-date as possible on all oversize travel closures, inclement weather, restrictions and latest news. 

If you have any questions about our oversize load permit services, please feel to Contact Us Online now or call us at (888) 737-6488 to reach our permit department.

Rhode Island Launches New Oversize Online Permit System

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Rhode Island has an updated Oversize/Overweight online permit system and it’s live and ready.

The system was officially launched on Wednesday, March 4.

The new system allows users the ability to obtain Annual Divisible Load Permits prior to the 3/31/2020 expiration date of their current permits, which will be available online to save and print once issued. It also gives permit services like WCS Permits the ability to manage this for customers as opposed to faxing them over to the state, which is how it’s been for years.

All transportation consultants at WCS Permits are working with the state as they clear up some minor bugs and add finishing touches to make the online system even better.

For the first week, the state DOT said they will be reviewing all Annual Divisible Load Permits (ADL) to ensure they are correct before issuance. The state is committed to conducting that review within two hours of a submission made during regular business hours.

Once an ADL is submitted, the permit will go into the “pending” part of the process and once issued the status will update to “issued.” WCS will manage these steps and will continue to work with the DOT on accuracy for all submitted permits.

Next year’s ALD permit renewals will require that a new permit be applied for.