'Weigh-in-motion' scales to be installed

Posted: Monday, May 19, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) A system to weigh vehicles while in motion is making its way to Alaska roads.

The state Department of Transportation and Public Facilities is working in three different Anchorage locations to install weigh-in-motion sensors.

The sensors will be on the Seward Highway, Tudor Road and Glenn Highway.

Howard Helkenn told the Alaska Journal of Commerce that the weigh-in-motion scales serve two purposes.

They are required by the federal government to get federal highway dollars. They also can be used to help design future roads.

Tony Barter, DOT construction project manager, said the data can be used to predict the life of the pavement.

The scale measures the length between the axles of a vehicle, the weight and the speed. It can then use the data to determine the type of vehicle.

A magnetic strip detects the vehicle, measures its length, calculates its speed and activates the scale. The weigh-in-motion, or WIM, is embedded in a 300-foot slab of concrete.

The concrete stabilizes the motion of the vehicle, creating a smoother ride, said Helkenn.

The Seward Highway and Tudor Road WIMs cover all four lanes of the road. The Glenn Highway will have one only on the outbound truck lane.

The Glenn WIM will allow trucking companies the option of equipping their trucks with a transponder. As the truck nears the WIM, the transponder emits a signal and the sensors record the truck's weight and measurement data.

If the truck is within the legal limits, it will receive a green light on the transponder and can bypass the weigh station, Helkenn said.

The construction cost for all the projects, with the exception of the Glenn Highway site, is $2.4 million, Barter said.

The three projects in Anchorage are expected to be completed by early July. Thirteen other recorders between Chulitna and Homer are slated for completion by September, he said.

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