Wisconsin Lawmaker Aims To Move Loggers To Interstate Highways
A proposal by a Wisconsin lawmaker would move the logging trucks off local roads to the interstate and also make them less-pollutant along the way. U.S. Representative Mike Gallagher has proposed a bill that's gaining traction at the Capitol; the Republican from Green Bay also has the support of the timber industry.
Currently, logging trucks are not allowed on the federal interstate system. According to an article in the Superior Telegram, that situation often creates both safety concerns along with a check on common sense. The article details the story of one logger - Scott Koerner. Scott shares:
"Very often, we say, 'boy, if we could just jump on the interstate, this would be quite an easy run'. Sometimes we're paralleling that piece interstate for 60, 70, 80 miles on county roads and state highways, just trying to keep the route still as short as we can."
The situation also brings with it an increase in the potential for disaster. Often those local routes that loggers are mandated to take brings their fully-loaded trucks through school zones, tight intersections, city streets, and roundabouts; simply put those traffic situations were not designed to handle 80,000-pound-plus trucks carrying a full load.
The benefits of allowing logging trucks onto the federal interstate system are many. That same article in the Superior Telegram shares that "interstate travel would reduce the time....[it takes] by more than 20%." The same study details that fuel consumption would be less - transfering to an energy-savings. And the safety factor of not having the trucks travel through school zones is immeasurable.
However - as with most things - there is also a down-side. The article quotes other studies that show an increase in vehicular crashes with logging trucks traveling on the interstate,
This isn't the first time that a proposal like this was floated - but things look improved for its chances this time around. A similar bill lost out on support back in 2019.