Weight restriction programs

Badly deteriorated roadway

No restrictions currently in effect.

From December 1 to May 1 every year, state highways in Wisconsin must withstand an extreme range of moisture and temperature conditions from -30 degrees Fahrenheit to +70 degrees Fahrenheit. These varying conditions affect the structural strength of the pavements and the base materials under the roadway.

Three distinct programs take advantage of the frozen pavement and sub-base conditions during the winter months and also protect pavement's weak conditions during the springtime freezing and thawing period.

These three programs include:

  1. The frozen road declaration that is normally in effect from mid-December to late February or early March.
  2. The Class II roads - typically lasts from early March until the first or second week in May.
  3. The seasonal posted roads program normally from the second week in March until late April or early May.

All three of these programs apply only to the state highway system. Local county or township road maintenance authorities are responsible for determining when their roads are either frozen or thawing and whether sections should be posted for weight limitations. Questions related to weight restrictions on local or county roads should be referred to the maintaining authority for those roads. Regional transportation offices can be contacted to answer specific questions related to the state highway system in their region.

RS permit - raw forest products (98,000 pounds on 6-axles):

  • WisDOT is the exclusive issuing authority for RS permits per Wis. Stats. s. 348.27(9m)(a).
  • Wis. Stats. s. 348.27(9m)(a)4. authorizes the transport of “raw forest products”.
  • Raw forest products are defined in Wis. Stats. s. 348.01(2)(bt).
  • The RS permit authorizes:
    • GVW of 98,000 lbs. in vehicle combinations with six or more axles.
    • No axle may exceed the axle weights set in Wis. Stats. s. 348.27(9m)(a)4.
  • 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 spring thaw.
  • RS permits are valid during spring thaw on all other public roads; however, they are subject to all posted weight limits, including seasonal limits.

Call (608) 266-8417 for a recorded message of the current status of the roads weight restrictions.

Related information

Other states' weight restriction programs

Contact:

Allan Johnson, P.E.
WisDOT Winter Maintenance Engineer 
allan.johnson@dot.wi.gov

Questions about overweight/oversize permits:
Motor carrier services, oversize-permits.dmv@dot.wi.gov
(608) 266-7320