Transportation officials study extra long semi trailers

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The North Dakota Department of Transportation is beginning a pilot study to examine the possibility of longer trucks on state roads.

Last spring, state lawmakers considered legislation dealing with “road trains” or extra long semi trailers meant to save on fuel costs and other expenses associated with moving goods.

But, the idea raised some safety concerns, so legislators decided to pass a bill to study the matter.

“This is a great opportunity to work with our transportation partners and learn more about the long combination vehicle impact on the state highway system,” said Mike Kisse, maintenance assistance division engineer with the Transportation Department. “This legislation has the potential to benefit the North Dakota economy.”

The department is accepting applications from the transportation industry through the end of November to gather input on possible trucking routes and configurations, the Bismarck Tribune reported. Among the ideas considered will be allowing cargo trailers up to 130 feet in length. The existing limit is 100 feet.

The Transportation Department says it plans to review proposed routes for any issues that could arise regarding longer trucks traveling over bridges or through intersections. It also will study whether it would be problematic for cars seeking to pass the longer trucks.

The Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute based at North Dakota State University is helping with the study.

The department plans to reports its findings by Aug. 1, 2022.