INDEPENDENCE — As Congress considers legislation to deal with America’s infrastructure problems, a local official is joining others from across the country to speak in Washington, D.C., against heavier and longer trucks on roadways.
The current transportation funding bill, the FAST Act, expires in 2020.
Brian Keierleber, county engineer of Buchanan County and past president of the National Association of County Engineers is in Washington this week. He strongly opposes any increases to truck length or weight. Keierleber plans to meet Tuesday with members of the Iowa congressional delegation, including his Rep. Abby Finkenauer, and Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst.
“Iowa has the unfortunate distinction of having the highest number of bridges rated as poor by the Federal Highway Administration in the nation,” said Keierleber. “Buchanan County is no different, and we have worked with continually limited resources to improve our aging infrastructure. Increasing semi-truck size and weight would be a severe step back in our efforts.”
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“We already have 17 bridges with posted weights under 30 tons due to age and degradation, and 2 bridges currently closed for replacement or repair. Situations like these create severe inconveniences for our residents,” said Keierleber. “Heavier trucks will only make the issues we had with frost boils much worse. Both the pavements and the rock roads took a tremendous beating this spring. Our problems with the frostboils would have been much less were it not for the heavy loads. Trucks have difficulties at many of the radiuses on our intersections now and entering drives off the roads. Longer trucks will make that situation even worse. We have had trucks over turn attempting to make the corner.”
A handful of the country’s largest trucking companies including Fed-Ex, UPS and Amazon are lobbying Congress to require every state to allow even longer double-trailer trucks, the so-called “Double 33s,” which are 17 feet longer than today’s 53-foot single-trailer trucks.
Another proposal being floated in Washington by large shippers, including Anheuser-Busch, is to increase national truck weights from the standard 80,000 pounds to 91,000 pounds — an increase of 5.5 tons.