MADISON - Wisconsin's frozen road law has expanded to include numbered state and federal highways within the areas designated by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) as Zones 2 and 3 (which includes all of the Prescott area). The frozen road law is already in effect in Zone 1 in the far northern portion of Wisconsin. The frozen road determination for Zones 4 and 5 in the southern portion of the state will be made once conditions warrant.
The frozen road law allows heavier loads for trucks carrying peeled or
unpeeled forest products cut crosswise (not including woodchips), and
salt and sand for winter maintenance until approximately early March,
unless thawing necessitates an earlier cancellation of the provision or
continued cold weather allows for an extension of the declaration
period. WisDOT and county highway personnel monitor temperature
forecasts, along with frost tubes-liquid-filled devices under
pavement-to help determine when roads are adequately frozen to
accommodate heavier loads.
The declaration is issued once the ground under highway pavement is
frozen to a depth of at least 18-inches, allowing the maximum gross
weight for trucks hauling logs or salt and sand for maintaining roads in
winter to go up to 98,000 pounds on vehicles with a minimum of five
axles (from the normal 80,000 pounds). Special permits for hauling the
increased weights are not required in Zones 1, 2 and 3, however,
vehicles must be legally licensed at 80,000 pounds to handle the
increased weights. The higher weight limits do not apply to county or
local roads unless authorized by the local agency having maintenance
authority. Also, higher weights may not be transported on any highways
or bridges specifically posted for lower weight limits.
More information can be found on the DMV section of the WisDOT website
under "Commercial license and vehicle" and by checking the Frozen Road
Hotline at (608) 266-8417. Haulers with specific questions can contact
WisDOT's Oversize/Overweight Permits Unit at (608) 266-7320.