Missouri Legislators Consider Increasing Weight Limits for Highways

Feb 24, 2015

Credit Jessica Naudziunas / Harvest Public Media

The Missouri House of Representatives is considering a bill that will increase the maximum weight limits for trucks carrying livestock across state highways.

The Missouri Department for Transportation strongly opposes the bill, concerned the extra weight will cause more damage to state roads.

According to Bob Lynch, an area engineer for the Missouri Department of Transportation, the maximum weight limits currently in place already cause road damage. “As you increase that weight limit there’s more pressure, more force applied to the roadways and bridges that can potentially cause damage and can shorten the life of a bridge,” Lynch said.

Yet currently, some highways in Northwest Missouri already have an increased weight limit for trucks carrying livestock. Some supporters of the bill claim that there isn’t sufficient data to support any significant damage to these state highways.

According to Mike Deering, the executive vice president for the Missouri Cattleman’s Association, Northwest Missouri Highway 36 already has the increase weight limits. “MoDOT testified at a hearing in the House of Representatives that no damage has been done,” Deering said.

Mike Schupp, an area engineer from the transportation department, said that they already have a hard time maintaining current road problems due to a decreasing budget. “Any additional weight limits that trucks could haul would actually be detrimental to us,” Schupp said.

According to Schupp, the Missouri Department of Transportation's budget will decrease from $700 million to $325 million by 2017.

All other states bordering Missouri spend at least three times more per mile on roads and bridges according to Dennis Heckman. Heckman is another area manager for the transportation department. 

The current weight limit for trucks carrying livestock is 80,000 pounds. If this bill passes, the limit will increase to 85,000 pounds.