Load limits starting to take effect in Minnesota
Joe Fieseler of MnDOT discussed the importance of heeding weight restrictions and communicating with the agency during the Agweek Farm Show in Rochester on Wednesday, March 8.
ROCHESTER, Minn. — With temperatures warming, it's time for farmers to pay attention to weight restrictions in Minnesota.
Spring weight restrictions are set to take effect, Friday, March 10, in southeast Minnesota as well as in the Twin Cities metro area.
Other areas of Minnesota will set their own starting dates for weight restrictions, which can be found on the Minnesota Department of Transportation website at www.dot.state.mn.us/loadlimits/ .
Joe Fieseler, the operations supervisor for the MnDOT’s Winona area, discussed the importance of heeding weight restrictions and communicating with the agency on concerns about road safety, especially on road improvement projects, during the Agweek Farm Show in Rochester on Wednesday, March 8.
“The road beds become much more pliable, loose, and so running heavy equipment on there damages roads,” Fieseler said. “Not only the roads you use, but the roads everybody uses and so that's why we put those into effect.”
Fieseler, who also farms near Eyota, suggested that when farmers are moving large equipment or hauling manure, to stay on the paved portion of the road as much as possible and only use the shoulder when necessary.
“We hug the ditch and run that shoulder,” Fieseler said. “I would suggest staying on the pavement, don't destroy that gravel shoulder. … Keep your weight centered.”
Counties may also set their own restrictions and MnDOT officials said to pay attention to the local rules.
As construction season approaches, Fieseler said public input in how traffic might be altered is important, so watch for public meeting notices and attend if possible, or reach out to MnDOT with concerns, even stopping into a garage.
He cited an example of project where guard rails that were put in place for a project “choked the road” and created a blind corner, making it dangerous for farmers and others.
“They worked with us, through our front office, and we actually moved the guardrail back to where it would work for everybody,” Fieseler said.
Fieseler also tries to visit properties that will be impacted by a project and not just rely on a printed handout.
“I’ll volunteer … to go talk and communicate and be that line of communication to where I can get on the same page and explain the benefits of the project on a whole different level.”
For the public that might get frustrated by slow-moving equipment, Fieseler suggested they “smile, wave and enjoy the day.”
And to take a few moments to appreciate the tools of modern agriculture.
“Look at how impressive it is,” Fieseler said. “Just take a moment and just sit back and look at it and realize what we're doing.”