Brown County Browser: Road weight restrictions

It is winter now and the roads are frozen. The frozen soil below the road surface makes the roads stronger and less susceptible to damage from cars and trucks. However, the cold weather does not make bridges stronger since the piling that hold the bridges up go deep into the ground and are not affected by the frost. This is one reason Brown County maintains the normal load postings of 10 tons per axle on paved highways and 9 tons per axle on gravel highways during the cold winter months. These load limits are in effect all year except during spring road restriction time.

Warmer weather normally starts showing up in late February or early March which brings spring road restrictions. As the weather warms, the frozen soil thaws out from the top down. The thawed soil on the top is weaker and can’t carry normal loads unless there is a strong enough paved surface on top to spread the load over a large enough area that it can carry the load. That is why spring road restrictions are needed. Once the frost is out of the ground and the soil below the pavement has firmed up to normal strength road postings can go back to normal.

During spring road restrictions gravel roads are limited to 5 tons per axle. A gravel surface is not as strong as a paved surface so it can’t carry as much of a load on the weak soils as a paved surface. Gravel roads are 5 ton by statute and are not posted. Paved roads are 10 tons per axle unless posted to a lesser amount. Typically 7 tons and 9 tons per axle are the other postings used. The load limit is determined by a calculated strength and/or a field tested strength of the paved surface. The thickness of the pavement required for a 10 ton road depends on the amount of trucks and cars that use the road daily and the soil type under the pavement.

Many years ago County roads were initially paved with a thin pavement with the idea “to get out of the mud”. Over the years as trucks and wagons increased in size it became evident of the need to increase the strength of the road pavement. Counties improved on these first pavements with a 7 ton design with the intentions of coming back years later with more pavement to make the road 9 ton. In recent years Brown County has been trying to upgrade roads to 10 ton as funding allows. In 2017 Brown County was able to upgrade 25 miles of road to 10 tons per axle.

See the Brown County website for spring road restrictions on County Roads.

ELECTION NOTES

FROM THE AUDITOR-TREASURER

Brown County is actively recruiting election judges to serve in the Primary and General Elections in 2018. To qualify as an election judge you must be: a)eligible to vote in the State of Minnesota; b) able to read, write and speak English; c) individuals applying to be an election judge must declare their party affiliation, if they are affiliated with a major political party.

High school students age 16 and 17 years of age can be election judge trainees. Students who are 18 years of age or older can serve as regular election judges. Besides the requirements listed above, student election judge trainees must be in good academic standing and have permission from their school and parents. Students do not have to declare party affiliation to serve. Compensation for election judges is determined by the town.

Election judges are required to have two hours of training each election cycle to maintain their certification as an election judge. Training for the primary and general elections will be scheduled in July 2018.

If you have never served as an election judge, and are interested in this public service, please contact your city or township clerk. If you need assistance please contact the county Auditor-Treasurer’s office.

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