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Dates for the 2021 thaw period for trucks


Dates for the 2021 thaw period for trucks

Every year, the Ministère des Transports du Québec imposes load limits on heavy vehicle users and shippers using the public road network during the thaw period.

These weight limits, which represent an 8 to 20% reduction in the loads normally allowed, are imposed in order to compensate for the road’s lower load-bearing capacity during the thaw period. The period that requires these seasonal limitations changes depending on the year and the area in question.

In this article, find out the 2021 thaw period for each zone in Quebec and learn more about why these restrictions are imposed on road transportation.

Dates of the 2021 thaw period in Quebec according to thaw zone

Quebec is divided into three separate thaw zones. The start and end dates of the load limit period are different for each zone.

The dates of the thaw period differ for each of these areas because they all have their own specific geography and climate. The typical frost depth and thaw process also vary from one zone to the next. All of this data is factored into the division of the Quebec road network into three zones.

The thaw period for each zone is determined by monitoring the progression of the thaw in the pavement. Sophisticated tools are placed at strategic points on the road network to monitor the thaw.

Since weather conditions change from year to year, the Ministère des Transports also takes the weather forecast into consideration when determining the start and end dates of the thaw period for each zone.

2021 thaw period in zone 1

As the southernmost part of the province, zone 1 has the earliest thaw period. Zone 1 also has the highest concentration of companies offering road transport and home delivery services. It includes Greater Montreal, Gatineau, Trois-Rivières, Quebec City and Sherbrooke.

The dates of the 2021 thaw period in zone 1 are:

Monday, March 22 (12:01 a.m.) to Friday, May 21 (11:59 p.m.)

2021 thaw period in zone 2

Zone 2 includes a large portion of the north shore of the St. Lawrence River. As its climate is slightly colder than Zone 1, its thaw period is slightly later. It includes the cities of Saguenay, Baie-Comeau, Gaspé and Sept-Îles, among others.

The dates of the 2021 thaw period in zone 2 are:

Monday, March 22 (12:01 a.m.) to Friday, May 21 (11:59 p.m.)

2021 thaw period in zone 3

Zone 3 covers the rest of Quebec north of zones 1 and 2. This zone has the coldest climate and consequently, the latest thaw period. Some of Quebec’s road transportation hubs such as Rouyn-Noranda, Val-d’Or and Chibougamau are located in zone 3.

The dates of the 2021 thaw period in zone 3 are:

Monday, March 29 (12:01 a.m.) to Friday, May 28 (11:59 p.m.)

Why limit loads during the thaw period?

The Quebec climate is particularly harsh during the winter months. The ground freezes to a depth of between 1.2 m and 3 m for more than 4 months. Frost depth combined with temperature fluctuations and high humidity can have major consequences on the vulnerability of the road. Freeze-thaw cycles also threaten the integrity of Quebec roads.

Furthermore, in spring, the layers of asphalt and aggregate that make up the majority of roads are weakened by the accumulation of water from snowmelt and heavy precipitation.

Studies on the load-bearing capacity of roads conducted by the Ministère des Transports du Québec have shown that in the spring, the reactions of pavement under a load are 50% to 70% more pronounced than those recorded during the summer.

Limiting loads to reduce damage to the road network

To better illustrate the benefits of limiting truck transportation loads during the thaw period, it is important to note that regardless of the time of year, a heavy vehicle that is overloaded by 25% on one axle will cause almost 150% of the damage a truck with an appropriate load would cause. During the thaw period, this phenomenon is exacerbated, and the same overload can cause tension strain 5 to 8 times higher than during normal periods.

That is why truckers are subjected to more roadside inspections during the thaw period. If an inspector discovers an overload, the driver of the heavy vehicle in question will have to choose one of the following options before they can drive on:

  • Redistribute the load on the axles to comply with regulations
  • Unload the excess weight

At Transport Econo Nord, we respect thaw period load limits

In conclusion, if you are driving a heavy vehicle during the thaw period, make sure that your load is in compliance with regulations. That way, you won’t risk breaking the rules and suffering the consequences. Not only that, but you’ll also be contributing to the effort to protect Quebec’s road network.

Be aware that the beginning and end of the load limit period may be moved up or pushed back depending on weather conditions. Always rely on the most up-to-date information on the Ministère des Transports website if in doubt.

It’s no accident that we at Transport Econo Nord have become true specialists in following load limits during the thaw period. With our transportation service from Montreal to Abitibi, we often traverse all three thaw zones in one trip! If you want to do business with real Quebec road transporation experts, contact us!