In late June, North Carolina approved a very useful truck weight reform, directed specifically to farm products and supplies and forest product raw materials, with additional provisions for haulers of aggregate, garbage, sludge, and “recyclable” material. In the case of farm and forest products, the rules apply to hauls of under 150 miles, on state roads, and allow a gross vehicle weight of up to 90,000 pounds on five axles, with a single-axle limit of 22,000 pounds and a tandem-axle limit of 42,000 pounds. If the truck meets certain axle-spacing requirements, a single-axle may bear up to 26,000 pounds, and a tandem up to 44,000 pounds.
The law’s definition of eligible material is quite elaborate, although possibly yet open to interpretation:
- Forest products originating and transported from a farm or woodlands to market with delay interruption or delay for further packaging or processing after initiating transport.
- Wood residuals, including wood chips, sawdust, mulch, or tree bark from any site.
- Raw logs to market.
The extent of “processing” allowed under the first bullet would appear to be an important detail, in establishing the eligibility of outbound forest product shipments.
Also of interest is a provision that appears to establish a permitting system to enable such vehicles access to “the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways,” although such access requires a lengthy application process and is written in terms that suggest it is intended exclusively for farming.