IFB clarifies information on IDOT harvest emergency permit form

Trucking expert responds to some of the common questions farmers have when filling out the form.

The Harvest Season Emergency permit allows heavier truck weights on specified routes to accommodate more efficient transportation of harvested crops. (Illinois Farm Bureau file photo)

By Kay Shipman

Since Gov. Bruce Rauner declared a 2018 harvest season emergency, some farmers have found a few questions to be confusing on the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) online permit form, according to Kevin Rund, Illinois Farm Bureau transportation specialist.

“For first-time applicants, some of the questions asked on the Harvest Season Emergency permit form are somewhat cryptic,” Rund said.

The governor’s action allows farmers statewide to apply for a special permit that allows up to a maximum 10 percent over their gross vehicle weight, axle weight and registered weight limits. Farmers must apply to IDOT for a free permit on state highways.

Rund clarified some of the information sought on the online form.

Actual gross weight: This is the intended combined weight of the permitted truck with its load, Rund said. For a five-axle semi, this would normally be 88,000 pounds – not the 80,000-pound standard weight for that vehicle.  Short-wheelbase semis could be limited to something less, depending on their axle spacing.

Some loads might be less than 88,000 pounds, but farmers do not need to lower the gross weight estimate for those loads, Rund added. The permit remains valid as long as the weight is equal to or less than that permitted weight.

Method of movement: The form offers options of "loaded" or "self-propelled," which refer to “what it is that creates the need for a permit – either the cargo that is loaded or the vehicle itself,” Rund explained.

For a Harvest Season Emergency permit, select “loaded,” he said.

Related: Visit this link for more harvest news

Axle weight: For a five-axle semi to reach the allowable 88,000-pound gross weight, individual and tandem axle weights need to take full advantage of the 10 percent overweights allowed under a harvest season emergency permit, Rund said.

Tandems that normally are allowed to carry 34,000 pounds will each need to carry 37,400 pounds. Meanwhile, the steer axle would have to carry 13,200 pounds. Rund advised farmers to check individual axle ratings before carrying the additional weight.

He also advised farmers to check tire ratings because the harvest season emergency permit does not allow a farmer to exceed the tire manufacturer's weight rating.

Axle spacing: Rund advised farmers to review page 14 of IDOT’s reference guide on the ITAP site.

The first measurement starts at the center of axle 1 (the steer axle) and extends to the center of axle 2. The next measurement starts at the center of axle 2 to axle 3. Continue that process through each pair of two consecutive axles, he said.

Each distance needs to be recorded in feet and inches, he said.

Related: A new law will allow farmers to permanently haul their crops more efficiently during harvest – but it doesn’t take effect until 2019. Read more here.

Visit IDOT’s ITAP website at webapps.dot.illinois.gov/ITAP to apply for a permit for each vehicle and specify the route that will be traveled. Each state permit must be updated every two weeks with a revised route authorization.