Logging business owners and the forest products industry have advocated for weight parity between Interstate Highways and state and U.S. highways for many years. In Georgia, the weight limit on state and U.S. highways is 84,000 pounds total, including 48,300 pounds per two axles (including state weight tolerances)—limits that allow logging trucks to haul their loads to mills that are often located in metro areas. But on interstate highways, log trucks are limited to 80,000 total pounds, including 34,000 pounds per set of axles. Log trucks operating on interstate highways must also comply with the Federal Bridge Formula requirements. Consequently, loaded log trucks rarely travel on Interstate Highways in the South.
The Georgia Forestry Foundation and Forest Resources Association funded research at the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources to quantify the benefits of shifting log trucks from backroads and highways to Interstates. Hauling cost savings were also observed in six of the eight wood baskets analyzed. Estimated annual savings for a typical logging business ranged from $3,369 in the Prattville, AL wood basket to more than $20,000 in the Augusta, GA and Brewton, AL wood baskets. Cumulative estimated annual savings across all eight wood baskets totaled $7.4 million.