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U.S. House approves keeping current weight limits on future I-41

WASHINGTON D.C. (WTAQ) - Heavy trucks would not have to reduce their loads when heading down Highway 41, under a bill passed by the U.S. House Monday.

On a voice vote, the chamber agreed to let trucks keep their current Wisconsin weight limits if the freeway becomes an Interstate 41 next year as expected.

Federal law bans trucks of over 80,000 pounds on the Interstates. Wisconsin currently allows rigs of up to 88,000 pounds if they’re carrying grain, coal, and iron ore. Timber and pulp trucks can carry up to 98,000 pounds.

Fond du Lac House Republican Tom Petri urged his colleagues to pass the measure, saying it would not add more weight to what Highway 41’s already carrying. Without the exception, officials say companies would either have to spend more to lighten their loads – or else the bigger trucks would move to two-lane rural roads and tear them up in short order.

Governor Scott Walker praised the House passage, calling it a “great win for Wisconsin’s economy” and for the business which use Highway 41. Similar legislation is pending in the Senate.

Democrat Tammy Baldwin says it’s “crucial” that her colleagues pass the measure by the end of the year.