JEFFERSON CITY - Throughout a soggy Missouri, farmers are rushing to harvest row crops and get them to storage before unseasonably heavy rainfall ruins this year's production. The Missouri departments of Transportation and Agriculture are working to help Missouri's farmers cope with the situation.
At the request of MDA, MoDOT issued an emergency declaration that eases certain state transportation regulations through Nov. 30. While the declaration is in effect, farmers are allowed to load their trucks up to 10 percent heavier than the legal licensed weight when transporting row crop commodities from the farm to a local storage facility. Farmers may also operate their vehicles beyond the normal hours-of-service limits when hauling to storage facilities and returning the empty truck to the farm.
These heavier loads are not allowed on Missouri interstates, nor are they allowed on any bridge with a weight restriction lower than the gross weight of the loaded vehicle. When traveling over bridges, the drivers must limit their speed to 45 mph and drive down the center of two lanes.
A copy of Emergency Declaration 09-11 must be carried in each commercial motor vehicle that operates in response to the relief effort. It is posted on MoDOT Motor Carrier Services' Web site, www.modot.org/mcs.
Because many highways are under repair and might have narrow lanes, drivers are expected to review their respective routes for work zone restrictions before beginning each trip. Consult the Traveler Information Map at http://www.modot.org/ or call MoDOT customer service at 1-888 ASK MoDOT (275-6636).
* UPDATE - MoDOT issued a second emergency declaration, effective at noon (Central Time) November 4, that extends the waivers and restrictions offered to farmers to private and for-hire motor carriers. The waivers for both groups are in effect through 12:01 a.m. Central Time, December 1, 2009.