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Economic Effects of Lifting the Spring Load Restriction Policy in Minnesota


  • Brian Smalkoski
  • Ning Li
  • David Levinson

    () (Nexus (Networks, Economics, and Urban Systems) Research Group, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Minnesota)


Spring load restrictions (SLR) regulate the weight per axle carried by heavy trucks during the spring thaw period. This policy aims to reduce pavement damage caused by heavy vehicles and extend the useful life of roads, but it also imposes costs on the trucking industry due to detouring or increased number of truckloads. Although the policies have been implemented for many years, their resulting economic effect has been unclear. The Minnesota Local Road Research Board (LRRB) and the Minnesota Department of Transportation (Mn/DOT) sponsored a cost/benefit study of spring load restrictions in Minnesota. The study, based on the results of surveys of industry costs, a pavement performance model, and a freight demand model, concludes that the benefits of lifting the existing SLR policy outweigh the additional costs. Roadways operating at 5-tons require additional study; however, current analysis warrants repealing SLR and keeping roadways operating year-round at 9-tons. The cost of additional damage should be recovered from those who benefit from the change in policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Brian Smalkoski & Ning Li & David Levinson, 2006. "Economic Effects of Lifting the Spring Load Restriction Policy in Minnesota," Working Papers 200606, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
  • Handle: RePEc:nex:wpaper:slr2006

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David Levinson & Michael Corbett & Maryam Hashami, 2004. "Operating Costs for Trucks," Working Papers 000024, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
    2. David Levinson & Ning Li & Brian Smalkoski & Xi Zou & Maryam Hashami, 2004. "A Framework for Analyzing the Effects of Spring Load Restriction," Working Papers 200406, University of Minnesota: Nexus Research Group.
    3. Smalkoski, Brian & Levinson, David, 2004. "Value of Time for Commercial Vehicle Operators," Journal of the Transportation Research Forum, Transportation Research Forum, vol. 44(1).
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    JEL classification:

    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise
    • R48 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government Pricing and Policy
    • R38 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Government Policy
    • D2 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D85 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Network Formation
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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