House Passes Bipartisan Nolan Measure to Permit Logging Trucks to Use I-35 Around Duluth
The U.S. House has passed by voice vote a bipartisan amendment by Congressman Rick Nolan to permit heavy logging trucks to avoid Superior Street in Duluth and instead use a 24-mile stretch of Interstate 35 from Duluth through Highway 210 during the winter months. Passage came on a voice vote this evening during consideration of the long-awaited six-year surface transportation bill.
Federal regulations currently prohibit logging trucks weighing more than 80,000 pounds from using I-35. Nolan’s amendment would permit logging trucks weighing 99,000 pounds or less to use the 24-mile stretch of I-35 – including Highway 210 via Exit 235 – during winter.
Nolan cited support for the measure from Duluth Mayor Don Ness, Police Chief Gordon Ramsay, the Greater Downtown Duluth Council, Wayne Brandt of the Minnesota Forest Industries, Scott Dane of the Associated Contract Loggers & Truckers of Minnesota, the city of Duluth, area citizens and logging truck drivers.
“My amendment simply raises the winter weight limit on a 24-mile stretch of Interstate 35 that skirts the center of the city – so huge and dangerous logging trucks aren’t forced onto the narrow, heavily traveled thoroughfare of the very narrow Superior Street, which is often slick and piled high with snow all winter long,” Nolan told his colleagues.
“These trucks are prone to tip and spill their logs on sharp turns. It’s happened before. And sooner or later, if we don’t pass this simple fix, someone is going to be killed or seriously injured. Passing this life-saving amendment will make winter travel safer for the truckers, and safer for the drivers and pedestrians who live, work and do business in the city of Duluth,” Nolan added.
“The logging and trucking industry is relieved that after years of effort, this issue has finally been resolved. The truckers did not want to be on the City of Duluth or other community streets any more than the people and officials wanted them on their streets. Congressman Nolan accomplished what nobody else has been able to accomplish. This legislation will greatly improve safety when transporting wood to area mills. Congressman Nolan’s efforts are greatly appreciated and will have a positive impact on the logging and trucking industry,” said Scott Dane of the Associated Contract Loggers & Truckers of Minnesota.
A vote is expected tomorrow on passage of the transportation bill, which will move it to conference committee where differences between and House and Senate will be ironed out before it’s sent to the President to be signed into law.
Nolan is the only Minnesotan now serving on the House Transportation Committee.