Governor Scott Walker has directed the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) and Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) to take immediate steps to assist drought-stricken farmers. Due to prolonged drought conditions, DATCP Secretary Ben Brancel has called on WisDOT to authorize issuance of Agricultural Emergency Permits that will allow the transport of heavier loads of hay bales along most state and local roadways.
"We need to do everything we can to make sure farmers can get feed for their animals," Governor Walker said. "Today, I'm directing the state agriculture and transportation departments to take immediate steps to permit the transport of hay to areas where it is urgently needed."
Beginning today and lasting through June 30, 2013, WisDOT's Division of Motor Vehicles Motor Carrier Services Section will issue free permits authorizing the transport of heavier loads of hay bales during daylight hours along non-posted state and local roadways under the following conditions:
* At a maximum overall height of 14-feet 6-inches, width of 12-feet, and length of 75-feet for combination vehicles and 45-feet for single vehicles;
* At a maximum gross weight not to exceed 90,000 pounds on vehicle combination with a minimum of five axles (or axle weights not to exceed 115% of vehicle weight if the vehicle is not in combination or has four or fewer axles);
* Vehicles must be registered for a minimum of 50,000 pounds gross vehicle weight, or be exempt from registration as an "Implement of Husbandry" as defined in state law [341.01(2)];
All permit conditions impacting size, weight, flagging, signing, and hours of operation must be complied with, along with all other laws pertaining to posted weight limits, load securement, driver hours of service, vehicle registration and taxation. The permits allow transport of heavier loads of hay bales Monday through Sunday, except for Friday through Monday of the upcoming Labor Day weekend and during Memorial Day weekend of 2013.
The permit must be carried in the permitted vehicle and be made available to law enforcement upon request. Those interested in applying for a permit should contact WisDOT's Oversize/Overweight Permits Unit at (608) 266-7320.
For other information and resources to address widespread effects of the drought and record heat in Wisconsin, go to http://ready.wi.gov/.