Gov. Butch Otter has signed SB 1117, the statewide heavy-trucks bill, into law, but says he wants the Idaho Transportation Department to hold public hearings and take other steps before designating any new routes – including Highway 95 in North Idaho - for the big, 129,000-pound trucks. “Safety must be the highest priority,” Otter wrote in a signing letter sent to lawmakers today. “The process of considering nominated routes also must include timely, well-noticed public hearings and notification of adjacent property owners.”
SB 1117 lets any non-freeway route in the state be designated for the extra-heavy trucks weighing up to 129,000 pounds, which currently are allowed only on 35 designated routes in southern Idaho, where they were the subject of a 10-year study and pilot project before the routes were made permanent this year. A follow-up bill, HB 322, which passed the Senate today, adds guarantees that local road jurisdictions, such as cities and highway districts, have the say over their local roads and must hold public hearings, but that doesn’t cover state routes or ITD.
Idaho’s current truck weight limit, outside the 35 designated southern Idaho routes, is 105,500 pounds; you can read my full story here at spokesman.com.