Wisconsin's Department of Transportation (DOT) wants input from farmers on new proposals governing the movement of agricultural equipment.
The department is hosting a series of town hall meetings this month on proposals regarding what can or cannot be driven on roads.
The DOT says agriculture equipment is getting larger and heavier, and convened a study group consisting of farmers, engineers, and implement manufacturers.
Dave Vieth, who directs the DOT's Bureau of Highway Maintenance, says the rules haven't been updated in decades. Vieth says if a farmer invests tens of thousands of dollars in a piece of equipment, he or she has a say in where and how it is driven on public roadways.
"A lot of this equipment becomes very expensive," says Vieth. "Then when ... you find out there's a bridge that can't accommodate that weight, you're either in a position where you have to move it on a circuitous route ... [or] load it onto a commercial trailer that has enough axels to distribute the weight."
Besides weight, height, and length of farm equipment, Vieth says the study group also weighed in on who should be able to drive implements. Current law allows people too young for drivers' licenses to operate machinery on roads.
Says Vieth, "We would be proposing that the driver be 18 years old and have a driver's license. And we expect to hear a fair amount of feedback about that at these town halls."
The meetings begin August 19 in Madison. After public input, Vieth says the study group will reconvene and forward its recommendations to the legislature whose members would have to approve any changes.