Kraft Foods wants to bring you more Velveeta, more efficiently. According to Bloomberg, the food giant says it needs to pack its 97,000-pound trucks full of processed deliciousness in order to combat high diesel prices. Problem is, interstate highways have an 80,000-pound weight limit.

But Kraft (along with other big corporations like Home Depot, MillerCoors, and Archer-Daniels-Midland) thinks it can get the law changed. Congress just extended a one-year pilot program to allow 100,000-pound trucks on interstates in Maine and Vermont for an additional 20 years, and a new bill would let every state decide whether they would allow the heavier trucks on their interstate highways.

Advocates of the "Safe and Efficient Transportation Act" say that the proposal is an economic necessity, and point out that states are already allowing heavier trucks to travel their secondary roads. But others have raised concerns about increased wear-and-tear on roads, and the questionable state of repair of the nation's interstate bridges, which were only designed for 80,000-pound trucks, according to the report.

There's also the potential for more highway fatalities. Though highway deaths have been on the decline, commercial truck-related deaths were up last year, according to the report. John Lannen, executive director of The Truck Safety Coalition, told Bloomberg that if the weight limits go up, "The entire country's motoring public will be put in grave danger."


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  • 382 Comments
      tnsubie
      • 3 Years Ago
      Choo-Choo. Transportation by train is hugely more efficient. It's time to reinvest in our railroad infrastructure.
        Justin Robertson
        • 3 Years Ago
        @tnsubie
        Couldn't agree more. Trains should so all the long distance with trucks doing local with some regional delivery in super sparse areas.
      Matt
      • 3 Years Ago
      As a Civil Engineer, I can 100% confirm that pushing the limit up TWENTY FIVE PERCENT will destroy our roads. You can't argue "it works in [insert country]" because the design of the roads are different. In fact, we've already allowed the trucking industry to increase their tire pressure above the design loads, causing more concentrated pressure on the wearing surfaces, which is particularly harmful to the asphalt roads. When the Eisenhower Interstate System was designed, the engineers didn't foresee that tire technology would progress to the point it's at today; thus, the roads were not designed to support it. What's more, road damage is not linearly proportional to vehicle weight, it's exponential, and heavier trucks means drastically reduced service life of our infrastructure. The fact is, heavy trucks already account for almost all of the damage to the roads caused by vehicles (excluding damage by water, sun, and temperature). ONE 80,000 lb truck does as much damage as 9,600 cars. That's right, heavy trucks are 9,600x more damaging than a car. Bump that to 100,000 lbs, and the roads simply give way. This is a bad idea.
        Matt
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Matt
        Also, to address the comments below that talk about how the added weight will be cancelled out by adding axles: Pressure from the tires is transferred from the wearing surface to the base, and then to the sub-base and then to the soil. Since pressure is force over area, you have force traveling not on a point, but over a patch. That patch on road delivers the load downward in a radiating distribution that grows as it goes down, so while your tire contacts, say, 1 square foot of asphalt (big tire), ten feet down it's hitting some 100 square feet of soil (I made that number up for my example). It's easy to visualize as cones of pressure down into the earth. That said, the research shows that these cones overlap even when the axles are spread apart. They overlap more when they are closer together, like in a dump truck, or when the vehicle is heavily loaded... like, a dump truck. If you add more axles, they'll almost certainly be closer together on average than the equivalent load on two separate trucks. As you are aware, soil is much less sturdy than concrete or asphalt, and when these overlapping loads exceed the bearing strength of the soil, the road will sink. THIS is the problem; the base and sub-base are impossible to replace without a complete removal and replacement of the road. We can re-surface 'til the cows come home, but the road below the surface it the real problem... Not to mention bridges (whole different, but equally impossible problem).
      Pete K
      • 3 Years Ago
      "There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody." Warren rejects the concept that it is possible for Americans to become wealthy in isolation. "You built a factory out there? Good for you," she says. "But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn't have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did." She continues: "Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea? God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along." I love Velveeta shells n cheese. So, no bias here. In fact, this reminds me that I'm out, and I will go buy some now, but they do NOT deserve special treatment here! Use more train based shipping and work on YOUR logistics... I hate that our bought politicians are probably going to let this happen though...
      cpenrod
      • 3 Years Ago
      Interstate highways have a 80,000 lb. weight limit for a reason. They were designed that way. Bridges throughout the country are deteriorating and some are failing now. And now they want to go to a 100,000 lbs. limit. What's wrong with this thinking. Dumb!
      peakarach1
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why don't they just use train instead?
        fuzybuzy2
        • 3 Years Ago
        @peakarach1
        Even when trailers are transported by train they have to be delivered from the train depot to the point of destination by truck, which can be several miles.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @fuzybuzy2
          [blocked]
      f20odessey
      • 3 Years Ago
      50 tons huh? Well as a retired trucker, I think this would be much more than a grave danger to the motoring public. Never mind the damage done to highways that are not built to handle these kinds of loads on an everyday consistant basis. But this is your government for you. They will likely side with whoever puts the most money in their pockets. If they ultimately allow heavier trucks, the trucks themselves will have to be better re-outfitted to handle the excess weight, never mind the braking systems. It's hard enought to hold back 80,000 lbs going down a hill. 100,000 would be almost disastrous. A lot of people do not know this but it takes around 650 feet (that's more than 2 football fields), to stop an 80,000lb tractor-trailer travelling at 65mph. Can you imagine what that would translate to if it were 25% heavier? I can smell the burning brakes now. Along with that, roads would again have to be redisigned and rebuilt, costing the taxpayers yet more money, they would have to hire more FEDERAL officers to enforce it and so it goes on and on. THE GOVERNMENT always trying to find more ways to SPEND YOUR HARD EARNED TAX DOLLAR. So round and round we go... Your government is trying to force us into small electric cars while at the same time putting heavier death traps on the highways. Hmmmm.. Oh... And higher insurance rates would figure into this too. And on it goes..
      Soul Shinobi
      • 3 Years Ago
      My first concern was the stopping distance these damn things need.
        Kevin Stewart
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Soul Shinobi
        Exactly, especially considering that a high number of trucks I've seen recently have bald tires.
      peekasa
      • 3 Years Ago
      Why do you think corporations want this? They want to have LESS drivers delivering MORE product. While the tax payer picks up the tab for weakened infrastructure. We already have 9% unemployment, let's let them have 150,000 lb. trucks so we can unemploy half the truckers out there!
      hlcarder
      • 3 Years Ago
      It will take more than raising the weight limit... There is a world of difference between driving a truck that weight 80 thousand and 100 thousand. Stopping distance, grade braking (going down hill), brakes over heating and not efficient, structure of trailers (we have several trailer brake in half a week) tires, (current tire design wont handle a 100 pounds at highway speed) . I have hauled many of Kraft Food Loads, and cheese seems to weigh the same as a load of bricks, there is a lot of unused space in the trailer but the weight is maxed out. By the time you upgrade the equipment to haul 100 thousand pounds, most of the weight will be in the trailer and truck construction, if you add a 3 axes on the trailer you will add 2,000. This is not a good Idea.
      ScottieM757
      • 3 Years Ago
      since i am an owner operator, i know they wont want to pay extra for the wear and tear on my tractor so i hope it doesnt work out. i already have to choose between groceries for my family,pay my mortage or fill up the tanks with fuel. so this is a big deal.
      BRYANT
      • 3 Years Ago
      Have you ever gotten behind a truck trying to pass another truck on a two lane road? These heavier, slower monsters would take a week and block traffic for miles. Worst idea in years.
      tributetodrive
      • 3 Years Ago
      Need more trains.
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