The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) recently began enforcing annual spring weight restrictions on roads to protect paved infrastructure throughout the state.
There will not be any reduced legal axle weights on “all season” routes. “Seasonal” routes will enforce the posted weight decrease, which is 25 percent for concrete pavements and 35 percent for asphalt pavements.
The weight restrictions have been in place since Feb. 19 and are being enforced on all state trunkline highways, extending from the Michigan-Indiana state line to the Michigan-Ohio state line. This includes all of I-96 in Grand Haven. It also includes eastern portions of the state, such as I-69 from Port Huron to Lansing. State highways generally have I, M or U.S. in their names.
Protecting roads during the spring is important. Roads, frozen all winter, gradually thaw starting at the surface of the pavement. Melting ice and snow tend to soften the ground, which can soften roadbeds by encasing moisture underneath the pavement.
This thawing process makes the road more prone to damage, like glass sitting over a waterbed; it cannot support the same amount of weight as it usually can. This is one of the reasons why potholes pop up more frequently during the spring’s freeze-thaw cycle.