Pending legislation could move Oklahoma from the bottom for moving high, wide and heavy loads across the state and help manufacturers located near the Tulsa Port of Catoosa.

Multiple highways make up the eight high-wide corridors in the state — one reaching into Missouri, two to Texas and three to Kansas — as delineated in SB 1114 introduced by Sen. Michael Bergstrom, R-Adair. SB 1089, also introduced by Bergstrom, addresses vehicle weights on state highways. Both were also authored by Rep. Terry O’Donnell, R-Catoosa.

According to data from the Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association, Oklahoma and Nebraska have the lowest weight limits per tandem axle. Both limit loads to 20,000 pounds per axle, while 39 states have limits of 23,000 or more.

Both measures were passed by the Senate Transportation Committee last week and, if approved, would make Oklahoma more competitive, he said.

Exceptions for overweight and oversized vehicles outlined in SB 1089 allow for “specialized transportation” of a maximum weight of 23,000 pounds per axle, widths exceeding 12 feet and a gross vehicle weight of 300,000 pounds or more if within the defined port area.

For oversize loads, SB 1114 calls for all bridges over the high-wide routes to be designed “where possible” for such movements go around those bridges with on and off ramps, for all future signs on these routes be of cantilever design that can be driven around “where possible.” All future bridges for those routes are to be designed to accommodate vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of 315,000 pounds.
Bradley Banks, the Tulsa port’s operations manager, has been working on the bills with legislators and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. He described the 30-mile radius around the port as a test area to limit the potential impact while benefiting manufacturers that have the high, wide or heavy loads moving over highways to and from the port.

Those 30 miles extend to the Mid-America Industrial District and to Sapulpa, Oologah, Chelsea and Wagoner where the bulk of Tulsa metro area manufacturers are located, Banks said.

With the only roll-on, roll-off facility on the 450-mile Arkansas Waterway, the port routinely handles shipments of 300,000-500,000 pounds each year, he said.

Original article by Tulsa Business & Legal News can be found here.

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