After analyzing the feed back from nearly 12 hundred people who attended a series of town hall meeting, and going over public input from surveys, emails and letters, the Implement of Husbandry Study Group came up with their final recommendation on the use of farm equipment on public roads.That report was sent on to the State Secretaries of Transportation and Agriculture and then forwarded to the State Legislative Transportation Committees.
The revised recommendations include:
- Create a clearer, simpler definition of IoH to reflect today's agricultural equipment, which also includes a definition for commercial motor vehicles used exclusively for agricultural operations.
- Require all IoH that cross over the center line of the roadway during operation to meet the lighting and marking standards of the ASAE
- Create a 60-ft. limit for a single IoH and a 100-ft. limit for combination of two IoH.
- Create a new IoH weight limit which is up 15% weight allowance more than the currently established by the federal bridge formula. This equates to a maximum single axle weight of 23,000 pounds and a maximum gross vehicle weight of 92,000 pounds except where posted and during periods of spring thaw.
- Require written authorization to exceed weight limits. Each year, IoH operators may submit a travel or route plan and request written authorization to exceed the weight limit from the maintaining authority of the roadways. A nominal fee may be charged and additional conditions may be set by each maintaining authority.
- Support exploration of best practices to assist in reducing the wear of roadways and structures. This includes the development of emerging innovations and best practices in manure management
- Ag requirements are to remain as presently allowed by statute, but the group recommends developing advanced training for operating larger and heavier IoH.
- Recommended that these issues be advanced to groups like the Federal Highway Administration and the American Association of State Highways and Transportation Officials to encourage manufacturers to develop more road compatible equipment.
The IoH Study Group was first organized in the fall of 2012 to address concerns over the quality of our roads and bridges and the impact agricultural equipment may have on them. The group was brought together by the WisDOT and DATCAP and includes representatives from various farm and transportation organizations, equipment manufacturers, law enforcement. town and county officials and UW Extension.
Reaction to the new rules are mixed however, the study group feels the recommendations allows production agriculture to continue its modern practices while protecting our states infrastructure. What happens next is in the hands of the legislature. Look for possible tweaking to occur.