ALTOONA, Pa (WTAJ)–Altoona expressed its full support for the Coalition Against Bigger Trucks, which advocates for highway and public safety.
The Coalition Against Bigger Trucks is a national grassroots organization that’s one of the leading voices on the issue of increasing loading truck parameters. Numerous discussions on the state and federal levels talk about increasing the weight and length of loading trucks.
The increase in the truck’s weight would go from the current limit of 80,000 to 95,000 and could increase its length to 91 feet. That dramatic weight increase is not ideal for the numerous roads and bridges in the state.
Altoona mayor Matt Pacifico said many people in state and local governments are in opposition to the weight change. The primary reasons against it are the increase in road damage and the threat to public safety.
The Department of Transportation found that heavy trucks would increase crashes up to 400 percent. Then, the heavy truck weight could damage bridges by 33 percent. Pacifico said it would be challenging to keep up with the maintenance of the infrastructure.
Larger tractor-trailers have higher braking violations and an increase in rollover accidents because of their center of gravity. In addition, they take much longer to pass and are more dangerous on two-lane roads.
“By increasing that weight, you’re accelerating the wear and tear on local roads,” Pacifico said. “Pennsylvania is fifth worst in the nation as it relates to bridges, so increasing the weight on bridges is detrimental to safety.”
Pennsylvania has 13.83% of its bridges rated poor in 2021, which is lower than its rate in 2020 at 14.6%. Pacifico emphasized that this is primarily for national brands that travel and not the local companies.
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Pacifico said the resolution drafted at Monday’s council meeting would act as a letter of opposition to Congress.