Frozen road declaration

The Frozen Road Period ends in Zones 4 and 5 as of 12:01 a.m., Saturday, February 24, 2018.

The Frozen Road Period remains in effect in Zones 1, 2, and 3.

The frozen road declaration is normally in effect from mid December to late February or early March. Eligibility for increased weight limitations is restricted to vehicles hauling abrasives or salt for highway winter maintenance and peeled or unpeeled forest products cut crosswise not to include woodchips. For legally licensed vehicles hauling these loads, no special permit is required during this period. Legally licensed means currently registered for 80,000 pounds, or the maximum Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW), if less than 80,000 pounds.

Local county or township road maintenance authorities are responsible for determining when local and county roads are frozen or thawing. Questions related to frozen road conditions on local or county roads should be referred to the maintaining authority for those roads.

Map - Seasonal load limits boundaries (Updated February 22, 2018)

Start of Frozen Road Declaration (Updated January 3, 2018)

History (Updated February 22, 2018)

Maintenance Manual Guideline (6-5-5) (Updated January 17, 2012)

How do we determine when the roads are frozen or in thaw? (January 20, 2017)


Important things to know with respect to permits involving 98,000 pounds on 6-axles

  • The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) is the only agency that may issue a “Raw Forest Products Permit” (RS Permit) per Wis Statute 348.27(9m)(a)4.
  • The RS Permit authorizes transport of “raw forest products” at GVW of 98,000 lbs. on vehicles or vehicle combinations with six or more axles none of which may exceed the axle weights set in the statute.
  • RS Permits are not valid on Interstate highways.
  • RS permits do not authorize exceeding posted weight limits, except for seasonal limits on marked State or US routes in connection with thawing of frozen roads.
  • During the spring thaw period established by WisDOT, the RS Permit allows transport on any highway that is marked State or US route including those posted to limit weights seasonally in connection with thawing of frozen roads. RS permits also remain valid during spring thaw on all other public roads but are subject to all posted weight limits, including seasonal limits.

Bridge postings

Non-seasonal roadway postings (None at this time)

Detailed Explanation of Statute 348.27(9m)(a)4

Call (608) 266-8417 for a recorded message of the current status of the frozen road declaration.


Allan Johnson
WisDOT Winter Maintenance Engineer

Questions about overweight/oversize permits:
Motor carrier services,
(608) 266-7320