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Spring thaw means lighter loads for roads
half-load restrictions during the spring thaw period. The options range from leaving the situa- tion as it is to not having any restrictions. Clermont noted that options that allow the counties to exercise its authority to grant spe- cial permit exemptions to the half-load limit could result in constant requests for exemp- tions. That might force counties council to have to start dictating more where some developments are allowed in Prescott-Rus- sell, which would create other problems for counties council and administration. Council voted to leave the situation as it is. Mayor François St-Amour of The Nation noted that somemunicipalities still were at a disadvantage with the half-load rule. Russell Township Mayor Pierre Leroux wondered if a study was feasible to help determine possible road exemptions in the counties. Clermont observed such a study was pos- sible but it would need to examine all of the road structures and alsomight need to deal with the economic development issue.
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The half-load rule is in effect for heavy trucks on county roads while the spring thaw continues and there are no plans to change that rule. “It would be wise to stay with the status quo,” said Marc Clermont, public works director for the United Counties of Pres- cott-Russell (UCPR), during the April 13 committee of the whole session. Clermont presented themayors on coun- ties council with a summary of the history and reasons behind the half-loads restriction scenario for manymunicipal roads in Onta- rio. Two sections of the Highway Act deal with reduced load limits and exemptions, including local authority for restrictions and exceptions. He explained that during the spring thaw period, which runs fromMarch toMay, the ground below the surface softens as the frost
layer reduces and then disappears. Beneath a road bed, this softening makes the upper road surfacemore susceptible to deforming because of the weight of heavy loads. Clermont said the impact of heavy loads on a road during spring thawmay not show right away but studies have shown that sur-
face road conditions can change or deterio- rate as much as 33 per cent in the long term because of excess weight during a spring thaw. He presented counties council with five options to address any complaints from lo- cal businesses or farmland operators about
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