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Idaho governor approves heavier truck bill — with a few caveats

Opponents to the bill said Idaho Gov. Butch Otter should have vetoed legislation pushed by logging interests to allow 129,000-pound trucks on non-interstate routes.

The Trucker Staff

4/4/2013

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter recently signed legislation that would permit extra-heavy trucks on non-interstate roads in northern Idaho, prompting criticism from opponents who said roads will be damaged and lives endangered.

They said Otter should have vetoed the bill pushed by the Idaho Forest Group in Coeur d’Alene.

The legislation expands from allowing heavy trucks on designed routes in southern Idaho to the north, where opponents said the roads are twisty and the weather is wetter, making those routes unsuitable for heavier trucks.

However, Idaho new sources reported that Otter has asked the Idaho Transportation Department to hold public hearings and to take a number of other steps before designing any new routes, including Highway 95 in northern Idaho, for 129,000-pound trucks.

Otter wrote to lawmakers April 2 in a signing letter that “Safety must be the highest priority” and that “The process of considering nominated routes also must include timely, well-noticed public hearings and notification of adjacent property owners.”

Idaho legislators 10 years ago approved a pilot project to allow trucks weighing up to 129,000 pounds in southern Idaho. The weight allowed on other non-interstate state roads is 105,000 pounds.

The bill signed by Otter would allow cities, highway districts and other highway jurisdictions to decide on whether to allow the heavier trucks locally, and the Idaho Transportation Department to decide whether to permit them on state roads.

The Trucker staff can be reached to comment on this article at editor@thetrucker.com.

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