As of midnight Friday Dec. 17, the legal limit weight limit on I-295, I-395 and portions of I-95 dropped back to 80,000 pounds following the failure of the Senate to pass the $1.1 trillion 2011 omnibus budget bill.

The higher limits, approved last year as a pilot project authored by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, were not included when the House passed a 9-month extension of the current federal highway program effectively halting the heavy-truck pilot program.

Sen. Collins, aided by pressure from the Maine Department of Transportation and Gov. John Baldacci, were almost successful in getting the program reinstated earlier this week when a one-year extension was written into the spending bill.

Tripping up the bill for many lawmakers were the more than $8 billion in earmarks proposed just weeks before a House of Representatives ban on earmarks takes effect.

According to published reports, Maine Department of Transportation Commissioner David Cole said Friday that the state is working with trucking companies to make the transition back to the lower limits on the interstates. Trucks can still weigh a total of 100,000 pounds as long as they stay on state highways and the Maine Turnpike.

Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, told the Bangor Daily News the state police would begin enforcing the lower limit on Maine's federal interstates immediately.

"The law reverts to 80,000 pounds at midnight," McCausland said Friday. "We have no choice but to enforce the law."