Spring is always welcomed, especially after a long winter. In stark contrast to the welcomed warmer weather, county roads experience the most stress during the spring. This is because the road bed is saturated with water thereby significantly reducing the strength of the road surface.
To protect county roads, state law includes a provision for spring load restrictions. The beginning and end of spring load restrictions is determined by the Minnesota Department of Transportation. You can access up-to-date information about the status of spring load restrictions at the MnDOT Seasonal Load Limits website. The beginning and end of spring load restrictions is weather dependent, however they typically begin in early March and end in mid May.
During spring load restrictions, state law provides the following maximum axle weights:
- All gravel roads are five (5) tons per axle
- All paved roads are ten (10) tons per axle, unless posted otherwise
You can view the maximum axle weights for St. Louis County roads by viewing the St. Louis County Road Restriction Map. In some limited cases, St. Louis County may extend the axle weight restriction on some county roads (typically gravel roads) if they are still recovering their strength at the official end of the spring load restriction period. In these cases, signs will be posted with the maximum axle weight.
St. Louis County only provides exemptions to spring load restrictions for cases related to human health and safety. Typical cases include the necessity to restore power, repair/replace a well, or pump a septic tank. If you need an exemption and you believe your case qualifies under this policy, you may call 218-625-3830 and ask to speak with the traffic engineer.