Scale houses and bridges

Discussion in 'Trucking Industry Regulations' started by jimjam38, Oct 9, 2019.

  1. jimjam38

    jimjam38 Medium Load Member

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    I may have asked this before, but a friend of mine said something that reminded me of this.
    Firstly, scale houses. I looked through the FMSCR, I didn't find a specific mention of it, but deliberately avoiding a scale, that is up to each state as far as penalties go correct?
    Second bridges. Average unladen truck and trailer lets say weighs 33k or 16.5T. For sake of argument let's say you get loaded and you now weigh 75k total, 37.5T. Now I know if I am pulling almost 40T, and I see a bridge that says weight limit 20T, I am double the capacity. I say this because this friend was mentioning places they had him going(I used to work there as well so I already know) I remember calling in to dispatch "hey there's a 10T bridge out here" even empty I would be over. But I get told, "you're fine just drive over it fast" or if it was a different dispatcher "take it slow"
    I am by no means a bridge engineer but, either way you're still illegal, and would it not matter whether you go fast or slow if the bridge can't support the weight?
     
  2. "semi" retired

    "semi" retired Road Train Member

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    1st, years ago it was no big deal to bypass a scale. Most of my career I did that. Today, with all the electrical doo-dads and cameras everywhere. I wouldn't risk it. Late at night, maybe, if I had no other choice.
    Bridges, I've "tested" many bridges in my time, 2 loaded semis ( 80 ton) on a 40 ton bridge was my best. Bridges are always underrated and I'd see no problem taking a loaded semi over a 10 ton bridge, HOWEVER, IF something happens, you can bet the company won't "support" you, and bridges aren't cheap. Common sense is the rule. If the bridge looks like one of those in South America, swaying in the wind, I'd stay off, but if it's a shorty and looks sound, I'd go for it.
     
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  3. JonJon78

    JonJon78 Road Train Member

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    I would never underestimate the posted weight limit sign on a bridge. Lots and lots of pictures online of trucks falling through by not adhering to the posted weight limit.
     
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  4. jimjam38

    jimjam38 Medium Load Member

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    Worst one was taking a load of casing out to a rig and had to be grossing over 60k. Wooden bridge (the older heavy wooden beam kind) at bottom of hill 5T. I went over it, only because it was a narrow county road and dropoff on either side. I was holding my breath. But dispatch told us to go that way(really adamant about following a route or face disciplinary action) Anyway, I mentioned the bridge. Was told it was fine they took line pipe on pole trailers over it all the time. Granted it was a short bridge but it was way down to the bottom if it collapsed.
     
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  5. D.Tibbitt

    D.Tibbitt Road Train Member

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    Well me personally i follow all the laws about posted bridge signs and scales. There is to much risk in todays world it is not worth the reward. If dispatch tells me to take it over a 10tbridge u can be sure that truck will not be moving until i find another way in.
     
  6. JonJon78

    JonJon78 Road Train Member

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    You got that right. I sure and the Hell ain't going to be the one making headlines for my truck falling through a 10 ton bridge. You can be sure that if you do in fact fall through dispatch will throw you under the bus like you wouldn't believe. "We never authorized him to go over that bridge"

    Couldn't even imagine how big a fine comes with that Big Mistake!!
     
  7. Mike250rs

    Mike250rs Light Load Member

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    Raleigh, NC
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    1. Don't dodge scales. Those fancy disco lights are not cheap

    2. I've tested a few short bridges. Anything more than vehicle length I wouldn't risk it. If your company tells to go over it anyway.. tell them to put it in writing.
     
  8. Mid-May Trucker

    Mid-May Trucker Light Load Member

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    A bridge is made to handle two vehicles at once so the middle would be the strongest.
     
  9. x1Heavy

    x1Heavy Road Train Member

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    You DO NOT want to be the idiot trucker breaking a 120 year old iron pipe bridge rated at 10 ton or whatever and dropping you and your entire tractor trailer plus expensive freight into the water to be ruined. The company's insurance when they learn of the light weight restriction will leave your company holding the bag which then opens YOU to a suit properly paying for all that plus another from the regulating authority demanding you to buy them a modern bridge in the millions of dollars.

    To be a agent of your company is to recognize that bridge is below your weight, whatever it is. You stop there, call the lawman or firehouse on your cell locally non emergency. They will be more than happy to come out and take care of you. Same as a low bridge problem.

    In the past if you dug far enough back in my posts you will see me telling stories about bridges not even having a deck with me crossing them. (So stupid... not one but three total, both ways...) or wooden restricted bridges with a fire department sign on the ground near them defining maximum steer and tandem weight capacity for fire pumpers, hook and ladders etc. Those capacities are valid for you but again if you dropped it or damaged it, guess what. You get to be buying a replacement bridge and after you pass on, your children's children will have the pleasure of being intimately involved with such a beautiful bridge.

    The situation is simple.

    I don't care if the Living Lord sat in the passenger seat and say go this way, its all good... not if the bridge is posted as restricted against you by weight. That truck is not going this way.

    That becomes a routine problem. How do we get a big rig across the river to the shipper, receiver or whatever. Without breaking laws, restricting and especially bridges.

    I have a love of bridges. If you ever see the Papermill Bridge in our Loch Raven north of Baltimore City in Maryland (Online) you will understand we crossed that bridge as a child 4 or more decades ago. They had to close it to vehicle traffic and finally to humans. The bridge itself was restored and given a new dress. But internally it's VERY tired and not really able to carry weight. In about 50 or so years without attention it must fall into the water.

    Thats one example. George Washington Bridge would be another. As is the CBBT over the ocean east of Norfolk. (Yes ocean. About 29 miles of it...) And so on.

    The immediate problem for you vs too light of a bridge is to stop and find another legal path. Usually lawmen locally and firehalls have people who will understand the situation.
     
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  10. jammer910Z

    jammer910Z Road Train Member

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    I personally like the bridges that have ZERO advance warning of low weight limit until you are dead on top of them at speed.
    There's one in Tupelo, MS in the main route into our terminal that scared the H out of me the first time I approached it.

    11t

    I was 35k empty, and had only about 8k in the box.. but that's still double the limit.

    Tiny little sign posted right on the face of the bridge. No advance notice.

    Whaddya do at 55?
     
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