Semitrailers weighing up to 129,000 pounds could be allowed on the stretch of U.S. Highway 93 between Challis and Arco, depending on what people have to say during a two-week open comment period held by the Idaho Transportation Department.

ITD workers began collecting comments June 8 on the application from Amalgamated Sugar Company of Boise to raise the weight limit from 105,000 pounds to 129,000 between mileposts 160 and 82 on U.S. 93. People can comment on the weight change till June 23 by visiting itd.idaho.gov/freight, calling 855-790-4988, emailing officeofthechiefengineer@itd.idaho.gov or mailing Scott Luekenga, P.O. Box 7129, Boise, 83707.

Luekenga, the freight program director in charge of collecting comments, said as of June 11, he had received one call about the potential change. The caller expressed a concern that if 129,000-pound semitrailers are allowed on that stretch of the highway, the drivers might use county and city roads as they haul larger loads. That could be dangerous, Luekenga acknowledged, because those roads aren’t designed with such wide and heavy hauls in mind.

While ITD and other state-level enforcement officers will continue to do their best to monitor and maintain U.S. 93 as required by law, Luekenga said county and city roads are out of their jurisdiction. They’ll do their best to help, but Luekenga said he told the caller that issue will have to be resolved by local law enforcement.

Engineers have tested U.S. 93 and determined it can handle heavier trucks.

Sugar company representatives want the change so they can haul more lime rock from the U.S. Calcium mine near Darlington to their processing plants in Eastern Idaho. Luekenga said they want to haul 200 tons of crushed rock regularly to tamp down dust in parking areas, where semitrailers loaded with sugar beets kick up large amounts of dust and debris as they pull in and out.

Once the comment period closes, Luekenga will compile and review comments. He then presents the information to Chief Engineer Blake Rindlisbacher who makes a recommendation on the possible change to 129,000 pounds.

If Rindlisbacher recommends approval, the issue moves to the 129,000-pound weight limit subcommittee. If they decide the application warrants approval, Luekenga said the two recommendations and the public comments will be presented to the Idaho Transportation Board at its July 21 meeting. That board would have to approve the change before it would be in effect.

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