By the end of this summer, you could be seeing some longer than usual vehicles hit the road in North Dakota. What was once referred to as the “road trains” bill is chugging along under a different name.
Senate Bill 2026 would require the Department of Transportation to implement a pilot project that puts “long combination vehicles” on North Dakota roads to study their impact. The bill previously referred to them as road trains, which are essentially long trucks, up to 130 feet, that exceed current weight and length requirements.
Rep. Tom Kading says the bill helps address a shortage of commercially licensed drivers and lessens shipping costs when trucks cross the border.
“One, the trucks are capable of doing it; two, we have that shortage and finally, the amount of money it takes some of these cargo-hauling companies to reconfigure when they hit the border — so a truck comes in from Canada, they have to reconfigure from a super-B combination to a different combination, this is costing millions of dollars in shipping costs,” Kading said.
If passed, the DOT would report its findings to the legislature by August of 2022 to see if the bill should be implemented statewide.
The bill was amended in conference committee Tuesday to include a section saying that in order for the vehicles to operate on city, county and township roads, those local authorities would have to be in agreement with the Department of Transportation.
The bill will likely get a vote by both chambers in the next week or so.