The New Brunswick Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DTI) recently introduced an enhanced winter weight (WW) program for the forest industry based on research and recommendations provided by FPInnovations’ Roads and Infrastructure research group.
New Brunswick’s winter weight program provides the forest industry with the opportunity for log hauling with increased weights on pre-defined roads during frozen conditions. The threshold previously used to start hauling at WW, however, was set at a conservative 1.0 m pavement frost depth.
In 2015–2016, FPInnovations’ Roads and Infrastructure group conducted an in-depth analysis of New Brunswick’s pavements to determine if a shallower starting frost depth could be used and, therefore, the WW hauling period extended. A set of typical pavements were analyzed using layered elastic modeling, pavement service life analysis, and risk management. The analysis revealed that both shallower starting frost depths and higher truck loadings could be used without compromising pavement integrity.
Based on FPInnovations’ recommendations, New Brunswick DTI has adopted a new WW starting threshold of 0.85 m frost depth instead of 1 m. This change is expected to provide up to two additional weeks of WW hauling, depending on the zone. The New Brunswick forest sector estimates that WW saves them approximately $1 million per season in haul costs. The new extended WW program is estimated to generate more than $300,000 in additional savings each year, while continuing to reduce summertime traffic levels and pavement wear and tear.
This initiative was spearheaded by FPInnovations’ Allan Bradley and Papa Masseck Thiam, in close collaboration with New Brunswick DTI and the forest sector. More information on the New Brunswick WW program can be found here.