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Thread: Bridge laws

  1. #1
    Light Load Member Teamdotson's Avatar
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    Bridge laws

    Ok I am back again. Been without Internet. Nice to be back with you great guys and gals.

    I have just some questions. I know the california hole is 41 feet. From kingpin to center of rear axle, or center of front tandem to center of rear?

    Probably a stupid question but I drive straight trucks and a 53 for a water company in south bend in. I wont be going anywhere but illinois and indiana, and michigan. I have crossed the scales many times on 80 south of chicago. Never got the red light. I also have yet to scale a load. I know thats bad but they dont pay enough for me to dish out money for scaling. I have red the other posts but I geuss i am to tired or its going right over my head. How do I know where my rear tandems are good at? Just weigh and thats good? Or do you do a bridge law check everytime? Please help. Sorry I know this has been brought up many tyimes.


  2. #2
    Road Train Member heyns57's Avatar
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    Illinois requires 45' 6" kingpin to center of rear axle.
    Indiana and Michigan require 40' 6" kingpin to center of tandem assembly.
    California requires 40' kingpin to center of rear axle according to Transport Topics Size Weight Update 2002.

    Weigh your 53' with your heaviest load and the tandems in the Indiana configuration. If your payload is more than 36,000 lbs., there is a chance that you can not use the last eight feet of the trailer.

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  4. #3
    Light Load Member Teamdotson's Avatar
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    OK I am sorry to be a pain but how do you know exactly what the distance should be per state. I've looked in my Rand Mcnally atlas but I dont see anything about it but the bridge table. Am I overlooking it?

    Thnks for the help

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    The Bridge Formula Table has nothing to do with the length maximums for these states with a 53' trailer. The Bridge Formula is the minimum distance between axles or axle groups for a given weight.
    The 41' rule is maximum distance allowed on a 53' trailer. Our trailers are not marked, so I use the 9 foot (1.5 Fathom) measurement from the rear of the trailer. I measure 1 arm span from the rear of the trailer, plus 1/2 arm span, 9 feet. Most trailers have the kingpin 3 feet from the nose, plus 41 feet, is 44 feet, subtracted from 53 feet, is 9 feet. It's easier to measure 9 feet from the rear, than it is to measure 41 feet from the kingpin.
    The Motor Carrier's Road Atlas has the Weight and Size Limits section, this section tells you what each state allows.

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    Road Train Member heyns57's Avatar
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    The Michigan regulation has a tolerance: "Forty feet, six inches plus or minus six inches." In other words, forty to forty-one feet. I would be more concerned about axle weights, and have the wheel-base in the ball park. Remember that loading behind the tandems actually takes weight off the drive axles and adds it to the tandems. When breweries used heavier, washable beer bottles, a 53' full of new bottles would be overweight on the tandems if they were at the 40' setting.

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    Light Load Member Teamdotson's Avatar
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    Thank you Otto and Heyns. That definetly helped out. I appreciate you clearing that up. Thanks again.

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    Road Train Member Lurchgs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by heyns57 View Post
    The Michigan regulation has a tolerance: "Forty feet, six inches plus or minus six inches." In other words, forty to forty-one feet.

    uhhh.. picking nits here... that's not 40 to 41 feet. it's 39.5 to 40.5 feet. In other words, you have a three hole span in which to put your pins, centered around 40 feet

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    Road Train Member heyns57's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lurchgs View Post
    uhhh.. picking nits here... that's not 40 to 41 feet. it's 39.5 to 40.5 feet. In other words, you have a three hole span in which to put your pins, centered around 40 feet
    Begging your pardon, but in Michigan it is centered around 40'6". Therefore, 40 to 41 is the ballpark.

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    Medium Load Member Ken Worth's Avatar
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    Am I right about this...If you have a 53' flat and the spread axles dont move, it'll always be 51' to center of spreads from the kingpin because the distance stays the same no matter where you move the fifthwheel? It'll only change the total length of the truck?

    I was under the impression that the only place I had to worry about was some eastern states and that had to do with the length of the trailer,not the span? The only difference between my 53' and a 48' is the extra 5' sticking out the back where a 48' ends that is only supposed to be loaded with light stuff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Worth View Post
    Am I right about this...If you have a 53' flat and the spread axles dont move, it'll always be 51' to center of spreads from the kingpin because the distance stays the same no matter where you move the fifthwheel? It'll only change the total length of the truck?

    I was under the impression that the only place I had to worry about was some eastern states and that had to do with the length of the trailer,not the span? The only difference between my 53' and a 48' is the extra 5' sticking out the back where a 48' ends that is only supposed to be loaded with light stuff.
    You have to worry about the span, 53' spreads are not usable in California because of the way the bridge law is stated, They measure to the center of the rearmost axle, most other states measure to the center of the group,meaning the length is much shorter in those states than it would be in California. California legal 53' spreads have a separate slide to move the rear axle by itself, basically making a spread into a tandem, it must be no further than 40.5' from the kingpin.

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