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Legislation would allow extra-long semis on North Dakota roads

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Legislation would allow extra-long semis on North Dakota roads
The House has approved a measure to launch a pilot program allowing “road trains” — similar to the Australian rig shown here — on some roadways in North Dakota.

BISMARCK, N.D. — Supporters of a bill that would allow extra-long semis on North Dakota roadways say it addresses a growing need to move cargo, given the increase in e-commerce and a shortage of truck drivers.

But opponents of the so-called “road train” legislation fear it would increase traffic fatalities and damage roads and bridges.

Such road trains generally consist of a semi-tractor pulling multiple trailers and exceeding state and federal length and weight limits.

“The reality is we need to be able to move more freight with less people,” said Matt Gardner, North Dakota Motor Carriers Association lobbyist told legislators Jan. 7, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

Landis Larson, president of the North Dakota AFL-CIO, told lawmakers that road trains pose dangers to workers who commute, and place an “unnecessary strain on an already underfunded and crumbling infrastructure.”

North Dakota’s state Department of Transportation has not taken a formal stance on the bill, but operations director Wayde Swenson said there is no system in place for licensing road train drivers. Swenson said he’s also concerned that the proposal could violate federal law, given Congress’s oversight of the national trucking network.

The House Transportation Committee endorsed a measure which launches a pilot program that would allow larger trucks on North Dakota’s major roadways. It urges Congress to amend restrictions on truck length and weight for Interstates 94 and 29 in North Dakota.

The Senate Transportation Committee took no action on a related measure.

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The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting. Founded in 1846, AP today remains the most trusted source of fast, accurate, unbiased news in all formats and the essential provider of the technology and services vital to the news business. The Trucker Media Group is subscriber of The Associated Press has been granted the license to use this content on TheTrucker.com and The Trucker newspaper in accordance with its Content License Agreement with The Associated Press.
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