A massive winter storm may have blanketed much of the Prairies, but spring is imminent and seasonal road bans are coming into effect.
The annual seasonal weight restrictions will further disrupt grain movement already struggling with rail service issues.
In Manitoba, spring road bans began on March 15 in all agricultural regions of the province and will remain in place until May 31 in the south and until June 10 in the north, according to the most recent government order released March 5.
The restrictions vary depending on the road, with Level 1 restrictions consisting of 90 per cent of normal loading and 65 per cent of normal on Level 2 affected roads. Full details are available online through Manitoba’s Infrastructure Department.
The annual ‘road bans’ set axle weight limits for vehicles moving on certain roads in an effort to reduce the damage heavier loads can cause during the spring thaw period. Grain and equipment movement can both be affected by the spring road bans, as people may need to find alternate routes or haul smaller loads. The duration of the restrictions will depend on the local weather conditions, but typically last through April and into May.
Official start dates for road bans in Saskatchewan and Alberta are not yet available online, but the weather-dependent restrictions typically begin in mid-March and run into May or June.
Details are released through the Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways and the Alberta Ministry of Transportation.