Janesville34.2°

I-43 to have virtual weigh station

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Catherine W. Idzerda
July 6, 2009
— Wherever you go, the Wisconsin State Patrol will know how much you weigh.

That's a slight exaggeration. The State Patrol covers the Interstate and state highways.


And officers really aren't interested in all the weight you've put on since high school.


They are, however, interested in preserving roads and keeping motorists safe, and that's why a virtual weigh station is being installed on Interstate 43 between I-90/39 and Highway 140.


Scales will be places under the road's surface, explained Doug Sina, Department of Transportation project engineer.


"When truckers drive over the scale, it will weigh the trucks and ID them," Sina said. "Those reports will be sent to the weigh station at La Prairie, and I believe state troopers will be able to pull the information up on their computers."


Actually, the information will be available to all law enforcement officers, said Sgt. Gary Bauer of the State Patrol.


The information is sent to a password-only Web site; officers simply need to log on.


"We wouldn't be issuing tickets just based on that information," Bauer said. "A weigh-in-motion scale isn't as accurate. But we could stop trucks and weigh them on portable scales or the scales at La Prairie Township."


Officers also could have truckers pull into businesses with scales such as grain elevators or truck stops.


Virtual weigh stations aren't new.


"We have weigh-in-motion stations on Highway 51 just outside of Stoughton and one on County N near Madison," Bauer said.


The virtual scales are set up to nab truckers who use alternative routes to avoid the scales.


Overweight trucks are a safety hazard and hard on highway infrastructure.


"A loaded truck stops faster than an empty one, but overloaded vehicles need more time to stop," Bauer said.


Overweight trucks also can cause stress on the rest of the truck's body that could lead to equipment failure.


In an effort to minimize traffic disruption, the DOT waited until I-43 was due to be resurfaced before installing the scales in the road.


For the next four months, workers will be redoing the road and putting new concrete overlays on the bridge decks, Sina said.


Traffic will be reduced to a single lane in both directions during construction, and work is expected to be finished Nov. 14.



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