The Extended-Weight Coal Haul Road System, created by the Kentucky 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.
Analyses in this report are based on the following: historical data on coal production and transportation: data from coal decal applications; interviews of legislators. transportation officials. coal company representatives. and coal trucking representatives: newspaper articles; vehicle classification data: analyses of pavement costs: pavement rideability data; and accident data.
Primary conclusions include: I) The extended-weight 5)'Stem has apparently been somewhat successful in accomplishing the objective of enhancing the competitiveness and economic viability of the Kentucky coal industry; 2) Overall accident rates did not increase as a result of implementation of the extended-weight system. but the fatal accident injury rates were significantly higher on the extended-weight system and for trucks operating with the coal decal; 3) Advance-warning flashers have been evaluated and recommended as a means of reducing intersection accidents involving heavy/coal trucks; 4) The coal-decal fee structure results in a net annual loss in Road Fund revenue of approximately S2 million; 5) Forty percent of revenue from decal fees are allocated to counties even though county-maintained roads comprise only eight percent of the extended-weight system; 6) Heavier weights of coal-decal trucks add approximately $9 million annually to the pavement overlay costs; 7) Road users throughout the state are subsidizing the movement of Kentucky coal by participating in the cost of maintaining and improving tile highway system; and 8) Possibly reflecting the increased funding of extended-weight roads., the rideability index. has risen to a level above the statewide average.
The primary recommendation was that the extended-weight system should evolve into a comprehensive trucking network. A "Resource and Commodity Highway System" was evaluated as a separate study and found to be a feasible and desirable means of providing a trucking highway network that is fully compatible with the dimensions and characteristics of large trucks.
Digital Object Identifier
Pigman, Jerry G.; Crabtree, Joseph D.; Agent, Kenneth R.; Graves, R. Clark; and Deacon, John A., "Impacts of the Extended-Weight Coal Haul Road System" (1995). Kentucky Transportation Center Research Report. 740.