Legislation allowing heavier trucks on more non-Interstate routes in Idaho has been signed by Gov. Butch Otter.
The bill, which received approval from state lawmakers last month, will expand their presence from 35 designed routes in the southern part of the state, allows trucks weighing up to 129,000 pounds on non-freeway routes.
The measure was pushed heavily by timber interests. Opponents, including many local governments, said roads in the northern part of the state were not suited for the heavier rigs.
A decade ago Idaho’s legislature approved a pilot project allowing trucks weighing up to 129,000 pounds in the southern part of the state. The weight limit on all other state non-Interstate routes is 105,000 pounds.
The legislation signed by Otter allows local highway jurisdictions, including cities and highway districts, to decide whether to allow the heavier trucks on local roads, while Idaho’s Transportation Department will decide on state routes.
Otter has requested the Idaho Transportation Department hold public hearings before designating new routes.
A follow-up bill in the Idaho House, which passed the Senate on Monday, adds guarantees that local governments have the say over their roads and must hold public hearings, but it doesn’t cover state routes that state transportation oversees.