Gain insight on thaw period road transport restrictions
Each year, the Quebec Ministry of Transport, Sustainable Mobility and Electrification of Transport imposes authorized load limits during the thaw period. These restrictions require adjustments from road transport companies, which sometimes complicates their work.
However, these seasonal requirements vary by year and region, which requires careful route planning. Take a few moments to better understand the road transport restrictions during the thaw period.
Why are loads restricted during the thaw period?
During the thaw period, a road’s load-bearing capacity is greatly reduced. In fact, its strength is decreased by 30 to 70%. The fragility of roads is such that, during the thaw, one overloaded vehicle alone is likely to cause significant damage to the roadway.
Load restrictions are imposed on heavy vehicles during thaw periods in response to this phenomenon. In general, these restrictions consist of an 8% to 20% reduction of the load limits in truck transport.
This load reduction significantly reduces roadway damage. For this reason, severe load limits are imposed on heavy vehicles during thaw periods.
Thaw zones in Quebec
The Quebec territory is divided into three separate thaw zones. Each of them has different start and end dates for the load restriction period. The simple reason is that these areas all have very different geography and climate. In addition, the standard frost depth and thaw progression in the different regions are also different and considered in this breakdown.
Their respective thaw periods are determined after a follow-up of the thaw progression in the pavement. They are determined using sophisticated tools arranged in strategic locations of the Quebec highway system. Of course, since each winter can sometimes be warmer or colder, the weather is also taken into consideration.
Zone 1 is the most southerly of the province. It has the quickest thaw period. This area also has the highest concentration of transport and delivery activities. In the year 2018, it will begin on Monday, March 5 and extend until Friday, May 4.
Zone 2 includes a large portion of the north shore of the St. Lawrence River. The thaw period is slightly later since the climate is slightly colder than Zone 1. For the year 2018, it will run from Monday, March 19 to Friday, May 18.
The last, but not least, area covers the entire territory north of the first two. Since this area has the harshest climate, its thaw period of course arrives the latest, from Monday, March 26 to Friday, May 25, 2018 to be more precise.
Road transport restrictions during the thaw period: a necessary evil
In conclusion, although the load restrictions imposed on road transport companies can complicate their work, they are nevertheless a necessary evil. Without them, who knows what the state of the roads would be after traveling on them with maximum loads in their weakened state?
Transport EconoNord takes every possible precaution each year so that road users can enjoy roads in good condition. Proud to set an example, our team always respects the load limits. Contact us for all your transportation needs if the state of public roads is also important to you.