Some of Georgia's largest companies are lobbying state and federal officials to raise weight limits on highways in the states, a move they say will help the economy and the environment. State officials worry about safety and maintenance issues if heavier trucks are allowed on Georgia roads.
Georgia's 18,000 truckers could be allowed to haul more cargo if a proposal in Congress goes through. Some business groups and shippers are pushing a measure to let states raise truck weight limits from 80,000 to 100,000 lbs. Safety advocates says, Georgia had more than 3,500 truck-related fatalities from 1994 to 2009 and increasing truck weight limits wouldn't reduce those numbers.
Trucking companies are taking a hit, as are retailers who don’t get shipments. The DOT’s been working around the clock to clear the region’s roads, but it’s been slow going. Lines of trucks simply parked on the interstates have been common.
Highway safety advocates are concerned Georgia isn't doing enough to prepare for the thousands of new trucks expected on the roads in the coming years. Harbor expansion at the Port of Savannah alone could double truck traffic on Savannah-area roads.