Great Lakes Timber Professionals

Quarterly Reports Other Documents Final Report
 See CFIRE 03-05

Primary Investigator

Mike Oliva
University of Wisconsin – Madison
1415 Engineering Drive, 1214 EH
Madison, WI 53706


The State DOT recently revised load limits for highway bridges in Wisconsin to allow heavier trucks, particularly if truckers had additional axles attached to their trucks to spread loads. Most of the companies involved in transporting timber in northern Wisconsin added the required extra axle at substantial cost. Unfortunately the load ratings for bridges on most county highways are set by local officials and may not reflect actual load capacities. Though the truckers added the extra axles many counties still placed load restrictions on essential bridges on local roads. This project will focus on developing guidelines to aid county officials in deciding whether load ratings are needed, evaluate whether selected posted bridges should be posted, and look at defining useable routes for timber haulers. Removal of non-essential load ratings will save the Wisconsin trucking industry many thousands of dollars in fuel costs and reduce truck emissions by shortening haul routes.


The objective of the planned work is to develop guidelines for decision makers in evaluating whether highway bridges need to have truck load limits and what limits are appropriate.

The research team will do this by working with the trucking industry in northern Wisconsin, specifically the Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association (GLTP) of Rhinelander, the WisDOT, and County highway officials to clearly identify the problems and possible solutions by working cooperatively.


Coordinate with GLTP to categorize the types of trucks used in Wisconsin for hauling timber. This categorization will include:

  1. number of axles on trucks
  2. spacing of the axles
  3. truck weight carried by each axle

Project Information

  • Duration: 12 months
  • Dates: 7/1/2008 – 6/30/2009
  • Budget: $5,200
  • Student Involvement: One undergraduate
  • Modal Orientation: Highway
  • Project ID: CFIRE 02-14
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