Transportation Matters in Iowa | Blog

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Weigh-in-motion systems save industry time and money, make roads safer for everyone

11/19/2020

WIM 4Large trucks carry goods to every corner of the globe. Without dedicated commercial drivers and the companies they work for, we wouldn’t have access to the items we depend on every day. But with all that truck traffic comes wear and tear to our roads. Over the years, engineers have developed specifications for roadbuilding that can accommodate the weight of these large trucks, but trucks that exceed the design weight can cause extensive damage to the roads, making for unsafe conditions and costing us all taxpayer dollars for repairs.

The Iowa Department of Transportation’s Motor Vehicle Enforcement is a team of certified peace officers dedicated to motor carrier safety. Part of that mission includes weighing large trucks to ensure they don’t exceed prescribed weight limits. New technology being utilized by Iowa DOT’s MVE includes mobile technology to allow officers to “weigh-in-motion.”

Weigh-in-motion scales
Portable weigh-in-motion systems can be positioned in areas that allow for safer weighing of commercial vehicles.

Currently, trucks are weighed at 11 Iowa DOT scale buildings located on the interstate system. MVE Chief Dave Lorenzen, said, “Portable scales are also used by MVE officers, but those are often deployed alongside the road, which can create a traffic safety concern, as well as safety concerns for our officers and the commercial driver. With these weigh-in-motion systems,  MVE staff can pull a truck off the road into a safe location like a rest area and weigh them as they roll through. This is a safer and more convenient way to check the weight in a way that doesn’t cost the driver much time off the road or fuel to idle at a weigh station.”

WIM 3Lorenzen said there are several benefits to using the weigh-in-motion system. “The system is set up so that the officer can operate the system remotely from a vehicle, increasing safety. The system is also portable, so we can move to where traffic is heaviest. It will also save taxpayer dollars because we aren’t spending funds for scale buildings.

“So far we’ve been very pleased with the results,” said Lorenzen. “We spent a lot of time researching the best options. We talked to officials in North Carolina and Minnesota who already use the same technology and are able to implement their best practices into our operations.”

 


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Iowa highway in the evening