Every year around February or March, we get some warm weather, and the frost starts coming out of the ground. As it comes out, it leaves soft spots in the ground. You have probably noticed it when the bottom seems to fall out of your driveway in the Spring. Well, this same thing is happening under road pavement also. If a heavy vehicle drives over the pavement when the ground is soft, the pavement will cave in and crack up. It isn't long after this, and we have a large pothole beginning to form.
The counties, cities and State Highway Department decided they needed to protect against this accelerated deterioration of the roads and so developed Spring Frost Laws. These Frost Laws go into effect at different dates each year depending on the weather and are controlled separately by each agency. The Frost Laws limit truckers to 35 MPH and puts a lower load limit on them. The Frost Laws have serious effects each spring on the loggers, chip haulers, potato farmers, garbage haulers and oil production truckers in Montmorency County.
All Extended Transportation permits are invalid during Frost Laws.
Frost Laws generally are on for more than a month each Spring. Signs are put up, and notices are run in the paper to alert the public that they are going into effect. Click here to check Frost Law Status.
The Montmorency County Road Commission has one employee trained as Weighmaster, and he carries scales and patrols the roads at all hours during the Frost Laws. Violators are issued tickets and are fined by District Court by the pound for each pound over the legal limits. Large overloads can be fined hundreds of dollars and may also get their truck held up until it is made legal. F
Fortunately, due to increased awareness and cooperation, the amount of fines have steadily gone down in recent years. None of the revenue derived from fines is given to the Road Commission. A small percentage goes to court costs, and the rest goes to the County Library to purchase books.
Some roads are exempt from Frost Laws. These roads are called All Season Routes. They have a deeper gravel base and a thicker layer of asphalt to support heavier loads when the ground is soft. Some All Season Routes in Montmorency County are Co. Rd. 451, Co. Rd. 459, Pleasant Valley Road, Reimann Road and Buttles Road.
Special permits are sometimes issued to move loads exceeding the Frost Laws, but "security against road damage" is required to cover road repairs if any damage is done.
Friday, April 28, 2006 12:14 AM