Minimizing Road Damage – Things to Consider

In working to address the issue of minimizing damage to roads from farm equipment a variety of practices are being used in Wisconsin. The use of these practices needs to be worked out between the maintaining road authorities and the road users involved.  The solutions offered here are not intended to be comprehensive, nor should this information be considered a legal guide.  Rather, it can be considered a starting point to encourage discussions among involved parties who wish to address road damage locally.

Some solutions will fit particular circumstances better than others.  The practicality and legality of solutions will depend on the type of project being considered, the particular partners involved, and the type of road under consideration.  Some governmental entities with jurisdictional control for road maintenance allow certain projects, while others are still considering or trying them on a pilot basis.  When in doubt, conversation with local partners is recommended prior to making specific implementation plans.

Solution: Balance or adjust axle weights

Who should be involved: Hauler, equipment owners

Considerations:

  • One time equipment adjustment
  • Re-calibrate if toolbar is added or removed

 

Solution: Paved road shoulders

Who should be involved: Maintaining road authority

Considerations:

  • Additional installation costs
  • Education needed so heavy loads or vehicles drive on road not shoulders
  • May need wider right-of -way or property purchase from adjoining landowners

Solution: Avoid moving equipment when frost is leaving the ground or when road subgrade is wet

Who should be involved: Producer, hauler, maintaining road authority, possibly other regulatory agencies

Consideration:

  • Already in effect with spring thaw road limits
  • Requires dairies to spread most of manure in fall and in shallow soils which potentially increases nutrient loss

Solution: Move equipment in early morning

Who should be involved: Producer, hauler, maintaining road authority

Considerations:

  • Schedules for producers and haulers
  • Best suited for limited volume in early spring (to keep manure storage from overflowing)
  • Ground may be frozen in early morning and increase the risk for runoff

Solution: Build roads with improved standards such as thicker asphalt and better subgade

Who should be involved: Maintaining road authorities, producer (maybe providing financial assistance for upgrade), other government authorities

Considerations:

  • Additional up-front investment to reduce long-term repair cost

Solution: One-way traffic during application or harvesting

Who should be involved: Producer, hauler, maintaining road authority, local law enforcement, citizens

Considerations:

  • Already being done in some towns/counties
  • Requires citizen education and cooperation

Solution: Road closure during application or harvesting to allow vehicles to park in middle of the road

Who should be involved: Producer, hauler, maintaining road authority, local law enforcement, citizens

Considerations:

  • Requires citizen education and cooperation

 

 

 

 

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