Indiana lawmakers talk about raising semi weight limits

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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — State lawmakers are trying to decide whether or not to allow heavier semis on Indiana roads.

Some argue it could help Hoosier businesses, but others share concerns about the state’s already deteriorating roads.

Republican State Senator Jon Ford wants the state to add masonry to the list of raw materials semis can carry, as well as raise the semi weight limit from 80,000 pounds to 120,000 pounds

“By adding weight, by adding axles, you’re adding more brakes,” State Sen. Jon Ford, R-Terre Haute explained Wednesday. “So, the stoppage time is not greater. It’s a very safe method and it could also take away a number of trucks on the road.”

Opponents argue heavier trucks will lead to roadway damage.

“There are very real concerns with road and especially bridge safety when heavy haulers utilize local infrastructure,” Jennifer Sharkey, president of the Indiana Association of County Engineers and Supervisors told lawmakers Wednesday.

“While we encourage the growth and appreciate it, we just want you to realize that there’s a burden that shifts, a financial burden to accommodate the higher loads.” Tippecanoe County Highway Operations director Stewart Kline said.

Rail industry leaders believe smaller regional rail lines will suffer if weight limits increase.

“People like to tell you there’s going to be fewer trucks on the road. From my perspective, that is absolutely false. There will be more trucks on the road because we will lose business.” said Peter Mills, president of the Indiana Rail Road Company.

Supporters argue a higher weight limit makes sense for Indiana businesses.

“By increasing the weight limit of masonry products to 120,000 pounds, it will almost double the amount of brick that can be hauled to a distribution center,” said Jenn Kersey, with RJL solutions explained Wednesday. Kersey said RJL Solutions represented Brampton Brick on Wednesday, which is one of four brick manufacturers in Indiana.

Lawmakers did not vote Wednesday, but there is another meeting scheduled for Oct. 2.

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