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Why seasonal weight restrictions?

Late winter and early spring driving in our province has its own set of challenges. Once-frozen roads become more vulnerable to damage as they thaw out and soften. Heavy vehicles pounding the pavement can make it worse by causing the pavement to crack and break up.

Seasonal weight restrictions limit the maximum weight of vehicles as a way to help prevent damage and protect Islanders' investment in our roadways.

What is a "freeze-thaw cycle?"

When pavement thaws during the daytime and freezes at night.

How are roads damaged during freeze-thaw cycles?

Water from melted ice and snow seeps into cracks in the pavement and softens the gravel underneath. When the water beneath the surface freezes again, it expands and breaks the pavement, causing potholes. If ice continues to form under the pavement from a steady supply of water, it can push the road surface upward causing the washboard-like unevenness known as "frost heaving."

Why are Prince Edward Island roads more vulnerable to seasonal damage?

Our silty clay soil collects and holds more water beneath our roadway surfaces, making our roads more susceptible to frost heaving and potholes - despite any drainage measures put into place.

What are the types of weight restrictions?

  • All-weather roads, such as routes 1 and 2: Vehicles may carry up to their maximum allowable weight - with no overweight exceptions permitted.
  • Other roads: Vehicles may carry 75 percent of their maximum allowable weight.
  • Posted weight limits: Only the road's posted weight limit is allowed.
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