In Washington the wide load without pilot car limit is 11', whereas in Alaska it is currently 10'. I thought this was worth looking into so I sent the AK DOT the following Email:
Mr. von Scheben,I was amazed in just one day to receive the following response:
I was wondering if you can direct me to the correct person or process to get a review of a current DOT regulation. Currently the wide load restriction is set at 10 feet for the width limit for permits without a pilot car. This is an issue for me since I am in the process of purchasing a boat that is slightly wider than this limit.
Most of the recreational boats that are used in Alaska are manufactured in Washington, where this limit is at 11’. Due to the Washington limit, there are many boats that measure 10’2” to 10’6” in width.
For traversing the Whittier Tunnel, having a vehicle that is 10’2” wide moves the fees from class B2 ($35) to class E ($300). For trailering on the highway, this means that I would need a 10’ to 12’ permit, which requires a pilot car at all times. I am wondering why this law is different from Washington, and if there can be a reason is it is different, then if there can be an exception for south central or for non-commercial vehicles or something like this. There are probably at least 100 boats in this class in this area, and to my knowledge, they just use the 10’ permit and that I know of this law is not enforced.
I think it is important that the laws are set in a manner to keep the roads safe, but so they allow for reasonable use of the roads without undue costs or burden.
Breeden, Dan K (DOT) [mailto:email@example.com] [/font]So in my opinion, this is the time for everyone to lobby for this change, both for the tunnel fees and the pilot car width restriction. Any comments on how to be most effective would be appreciated. I think as many people as possible testifying that Alaska needs to be the same as Washington for boats, since many of the ones used here are built to their regulations would be a good step.
Sent: Saturday, February 09, 2008 12:49 PM[/font]
To: Jim Rogers
Cc: Veasey, Teri A (DOT)[/font]
Subject: RE: Alaska Wide Load Restrictions
Dear Mr. Rogers,[/font]
Thank you for you inquiry and we agree with your assessment regarding Safety and Reasonable Use. The Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) Division of Measurement Standards and Commercial Vehicle Enforcement (MSCVE) is responsible for enforcement of these regulations in Alaska. You will find Size and Weight regulations for Alaska located in the Alaska Administrative Code (AAC) Title 17 Chapter 25.010 through 110 or at http://old-www.legis.state.ak.us/cgi-bin/folioisa.dll/aac/query=[jump!3A!27title17chap25!2C+a!2E+1!27]/doc/%7B@66596%7D? online. Some size and weight regulations vary from state to state and some are mandated by the United States Congress (see 23 CFR 658.15 below), these must be followed to remain eligible for federal highway funding. Size and Weight rules apply to everyone, not just commercial vehicles, so there is no way to take noncommercial vehicles out of the mix. As the rules are currently written for those you mentioned that may be “Driving without a permit when required,” if caught, they will receive a $400.00 citation.
MSCVE is currently reviewing and updating AAC 17 Chapter 25 and the Alaska Permits Manual; both will be out for public comment in approximately one month and when available will be located at 11900 Industry Way or on line at http://www.dot.state.ak.us/mscve/main.cfm?go=director . The last update of the permits manual was completed in 1989 and many upgrades to our highway system have occurred since then. One of the items we are reviewing is the need for a pilot car under 12 feet wide. This review is ongoing and taking into consideration road alignment, road surface and lane width, traffic safety, and specific routes. We are aware of the differences you have discussed and are looking at comparisons between the western states, Canada, and Alaska, when we complete our review we will be better able to address these concerns specifically.
Please let me know if you have additional concerns or questions regarding this matter. You can reach me at the email address above or the phone number below.[/font]
Dan Breeden, Director
DOT&PF / MSCVE
PART 658--truck size and weight, route designations--length, width and weight limitations
Sec. 658.15 Width
a) No State shall impose a width limitation of more or less than 102 inches, or its approximate metric equivalent, 2.6 meters (102.36 inches) on a vehicle operating on the National Network, except for the State of Hawaii, which is allowed to keep the State's 108-inch width maximum by virtue of section 416(a) of the STAA.
(b) The provisions of paragraph (a) of this section do not apply to special mobile equipment as defined in Sec. 658.5.
(c) Safety devices, as defined in Sec. 658.5 or as determined by the States as necessary for the safe and efficient operation of motor vehicles shall not be included in the calculation of width. Safety devices not specifically enumerated in Sec. 658.5 may not extend beyond 3 inches on each side of a vehicle. No device included in this subsection shall have, by its design or use, the capability to carry cargo.
(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of this section or any other provision of law, a State may grant special use permits to motor vehicles, including manufactured housing, that exceed 102 inches in width.
[49 FR 23315, June 5, 1984, as amended at 59 FR 30419, June 13, 1994]