Chapter 12: Load Zoning and Super Heavy Load Analysis

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Section 1: Overview for Load Zoning

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Background

There are more than 16,600 mi. of load-restricted highways in Texas. These facilities were generally constructed prior to the late 1950s, and were designed for lighter wheel loads and axle configurations than are currently allowed by law. In addition, environmental effects have weakened some structures.

The Construction Division, Materials & Pavements Section (CST-M&P) manages a database for load-restricted highways. The load-restricted highways can be accessed through the following link http://www.dot.state.tx.us/gis/loadzone/viewer.htm.

The Bridge Division manages a database for load-restricted bridge structures. Refer to http://www.txdot.gov/business/motor_carrier/roadways/restricted_bridge.htm for the load restricted bridge application that includes both on and off-system load restricted bridges.

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Minute Orders

In an effort to protect facilities that were originally designed for lighter wheel loads from accelerated deterioration, a provision exists in the state law (Texas Transportation Code, §621.102). The law authorizes the Transportation Commission to set load limits. The Commission must accomplish all actions to revise, post, or remove postings from restricted facilities by issuing a legal document called a Minute Order. CST-M&P is responsible for preparing and submitting, to the Commission, proposed Minute Orders involving load zoning. Minute Orders are approved by the Commission on a monthly basis.

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What is in This Chapter?

This chapter discusses the following:

  • Changing Load Zones on Roads
  • Emergency Load Zones on Roads
  • Changing Load Zones on County Roads and Bridges.

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