While weight laws were established to protect our national infrastructures, local restrictions are costing producers payload capacity. When Congress added the Bridge Formula to the Federal-Aid Highway Amendment of 1974, lawmakers provided a national standard for size and weight limits. But in many states, lawmakers have enacted more restrictive weight limits than those outlined in the Federal Bridge Formula.
Today, many producers operate on a regional, and even national, basis. Trucks can haul longer distances and still provide quality concrete. From a manufacturer's standpoint, a state-by-state application of bridge-law formulas creates many problems for meeting the producer's needs. Rather than designing one main chassis, axles, and drum-capacity configuration for all states, manufacturers must practically custom-design each truck. The mixer manufacturer must build a drum that matches a chassis so the ready-mix producer can carry as much payload as possible while maintaining the integrity of the truck for a long life.
The real problem arises when the applicable state has severe weight restrictions. First, producers must identify the state to which the unit is assigned. To complicate matters in some states, producers must further pinpoint the local area in which they will assign the truck.
Proper truck configuration requires a team effort between the producer and the chassis and mixer manufacturer. Manufacturers can substitute lighter or thinner materials. But using thinner metal cross-sections in the tough construction environment can cause premature fatigue. Lighter exotic metals are too costly. So manufacturers commonly suggest using aluminum components only on nonstructural items.
Some viable options are aluminum components, plastic fenders, smaller water tanks, and thinner drum materials. Manufacturers also offer chassis frame rails with varying frame designs and metal thicknesses. Aluminum can also be used for components such as wheels, tanks, cross-members, and cabs.
Article includes information about weight laws in six states: Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, and Texas.