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'Weigh-in-Motion' Tech Lets Idaho Truckers Zoom Past Weigh Stations

In Idaho, four “weigh-in-motion” systems take the place of traditional weigh stations, which require the truck to stop on scale to ensure it’s not overloaded.

Large tractor-trailer rigs in Idaho are zooming past weigh stations, saving time and money.

The state has four “weigh-in-motion” (WIM) systems on various routes popular among truckers. The WIM systems take the place of traditional weigh stations, which require the truck to stop on a scale to ensure it’s not overloaded. New technology allows weight readings to be taken while the truck moves down the highway. 

Trucks bypassing the port save an average of five minutes of time per incident, and almost half a gallon of fuel. This amounts to a savings of about $8.68 per bypass. Commercial trucks using WIM to bypass Idaho ports saved 33,365 hours and more than 16,000 gallons of fuel in the last year, according to the Idaho Transportation Department.

“These projects are an outstanding example of how the department is meeting its mission to improve safety, mobility and economic opportunity for Idaho and the nation,” said Reymundo Rodriguez, DMV Compliance Manager, in a statement.

The system allows commercial trucks that meet state size and weight limits to bypass weigh stations at highway speeds. An estimated 50 to 60 percent of commercial truck traffic will be able to bypass the ports.

The state has four other traditional weigh stations. The WIM systems cost about $1.4 million to $1.8 million each, “depending on how extensive the pavement work is that's required to implant the sensors,” said Reed Hollinshead, a spokesman for Idaho Department of Transportation.

The savings realized from the four Idaho locations with WIM from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017 was:

  Vehicle Bypasses Monetary Savings
Huetter port of entry in northern Idaho 58,356 $506,530
Lewiston port of entry in north-central Idaho 89,049 $772,945
East Boise port of entry in southwest Idaho 247,378 $2.15 million
Inkom port of entry in southeast Idaho (June only) 5,600 $48,608
Total 400,383 $3.475 million

Skip Descant writes about smart cities, the Internet of Things, transportation and other areas. He spent more than 12 years reporting for daily newspapers in Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and California. He lives in downtown Sacramento.
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