The Extended-Weight Coal Haul Road System, created by Kentucky's Legislature in 1986, consists of all roads which carry over 50,000 tons of coal in a calendar year. Trucks hauling coal on this system are authorized to exceed normal weight limits through the payment of an annual decal fee. A research study was initiated in July of 1992 to analyze the impacts of the extended-weight system. This interim report, prepared after one year of a three-year study, describes the analyses performed thus far and presents preliminary findings, recommendations, and a discussion of future work.
Analyses in this report are based on: historical data on coal production and transportation: data from coal decal applications; interviews of legislators, transportation official, coal company representatives, and coal trucking representatives: newspaper articles; vehicle classification data; a pavement cost analysis; and accident data.
Preliminary conclusions include: 1) The extended-weight system has apparently been somewhat successful in accomplishing its primary objectives: to enhance the competitiveness and economic viability of Kentucky's coal industry and to eliminate the perceived need for coal haulers to violate the law in order to be competitive; 2) Overall accident rates are no higher on the extended-weight system than on other comparable routes, but the fatal accident data is significantly higher on the extended- weight system; 3) The coal-decal fee structure results in a net annual loss in Road Fund revenue of approximately $2 trillion; 4) Forty percent of the revenue from data sales is allocated to the counties, although less than ten percent of the extended-weight system is county-maintained; 5) The heavier weights of coal-decal trucks add approximately $9 million annually to pavement overlay costs and increase other highway costs to an (as yet) undetermined extant; 6) Road users throughout the state are subsidizing the movement of Kentucky coal by underwriting the increased costs of maintaining and improving the infrastructure.
The following preliminary recommendations ware developed: 1) Route geometry and cross section should be considered when deciding which routes will be included in the extended-weight system; 2) The selection of routes for the extended-weight system should include consideration of system connectivity; 3) Countermeasures should be evaluated and implemented to alleviate the braking problem for heavy trucks approaching signalized intersections; 4) A revision to the allocation of Energy Recovery Road Fund dollars should be considered to more accurately reflect the composition of the extended-weight system.
Digital Object Identifier
Crabtree, Joseph D.; Pigman, Jerry G.; Deacon, John A.; and Agent, Kenneth R., "Impacts of the Extended-Weight Coal Haul Road System (Interim Report)" (1993). Kentucky Transportation Center Research Report. 585.