Glacier FarmMedia COVID-19 & the Farm

Spring road bans coming into effect across Prairies

saskatchewan highway 363
File photo of Highway 363 near Moose Jaw, Sask. (Mysticenergy/iStock/Getty Images)

MarketsFarm — Warming temperatures and melting snow across Western Canada may cause some disruptions to grain and livestock movement over the next few weeks as seasonal spring road restrictions come into effect across the Prairies.

The annual spring road restrictions set axle weight limits for vehicles moving on certain roads in an effort to reduce the damage heavier loads can cause during the spring thaw period.

Grain and equipment movement can both be affected by the spring road bans, as drivers may need to find alternate routes or haul smaller loads. The duration of the restrictions will depend on local weather conditions, but typically last through April and into May.

In Manitoba, spring road bans are set to come into effect on Saturday (March 6) in the southern part of the province (climate zone 1a), with other zones following over the next few days, according to an update from Manitoba Infrastructure.

The restrictions vary depending on the road, with level one restrictions consisting of 90 per cent of normal loading and 65 per cent of normal on level two affected roads.

Winter weight allowances were still in place across most of Saskatchewan as of Friday, according to the provincial ministry of highways and infrastructure.

Spring road restrictions typically come into effect in mid-March in the province and have already been imposed over the past week for highways south of Highway 1 and a few others in the province’s southwest, according to the provincial Highway Hotline map. Winter weights are set to be lifted Monday on a few more roads in the province’s southeast.

Spring road restrictions are set to go into effect across the southern half of Alberta, south of Camrose, on March 8, with other areas expected to be added to the list as the thaw progresses, according to Alberta Transportation.

Current details are available online for Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.

— Phil Franz-Warkentin reports for MarketsFarm from Winnipeg.

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