Agricultural equipment, also known as implements of husbandry (IoH), is getting larger and heavier which helps in more efficient farm production, but it can also impact pavement and road structures. That's why the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) convened the IoH Study Group. It involved over 20 stakeholders representing various transportation and farm organizations, equipment manufacturers, law enforcement, local officials and the University of Wisconsin-Madison/Extension.
The final IoH Study Group public meeting will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Sept. 3 at the Chippewa County Courthouse Large Assembly Room, 711 N. Bridge St., Chippewa Falls.
If you are not able to attend the final meeting, you can comment about proposed rule changes by contacting Rory Rhinesmith, Deputy Administrator, Division of Transportation System Development at (608) 267-7111. Written comments regarding the project can be mailed to Mr. Rhinesmith, WisDOT, 4802 Sheboygan Avenue, Room 451, PO Box 7910, Madison, WI 53707-7910.
The comment period will close on Sept. 6.
Some of the IoH Study Group's recommendations include:
? Maximum width of IoH equipment of 15 feet. Equipment up to 17 feet wide may be operated without written authorization when they meet safety requirements to ensure safe passage by other road users.
? Maximum width of IoH commercial motor vehicles of 10 feet.
? Maximum height of 13 feet 6 inches. Equipment greater than this height may be operated without written authorization. The operator is responsible for ensuring there are no conflicts with overhead obstructions such as wires or structures.
? Expanding the weight allowance for IoH up to 15 percent over the limits established by the Federal Bridge Formula, except where posted or during spring thaw.
Safety, the capacity of roads and bridges and consideration of commonly used IOH equipment guided the recommendations for size. Road width, overhead wires, bridge standards and the ability to safely maneuver through turns determined the new size parameters. The recommendation on weight allowance is based on engineering analysis and research on the damage done to roads as a result of increased weight. The complete IoH Study Group report is at http://www.dot.wisconsin.gov/business/ag/index.htm.
For more information about this article and other UW-Extension programming and resources, please visit the Dodge County UW-Extension website: http://dodge.uwex.edu, connect with us on Facebook or contact Agriculture Agent Mike Stanek at 386-3790 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For questions about IoH proposed changes, you may also contact Dodge County Highway Commissioner Brian Field at 386-3653 or email: email@example.com