New technology could help move goods faster and safer in Texas
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New technology could help move goods faster and safer in Texas

TxDOT testing new “weigh-in-motion” approach to measuring loads on highways

By Ryan LaFontaine

AUSTIN—In an effort to help move goods more efficiently and safely through the state, TxDOT is rethinking the critical step of weighing big rigs.

TxDOT, along with researchers at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, are working to create a way to measure the weight of trucks in real time, without having truckers pull off the highway into designated weigh stations.

The strategy includes the installation of scales on the decks of bridges along the highway, and it could be far less disruptive to traffic, more durable, more economical, safer to install and able to produce accurate traffic data.

“We essentially developed a method for transforming a bridge into a scale,” said Stefan Hurlebaus, research engineer at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.

The new system can detect the weight and speed of a truck, along with the number of axles and the distance between them.

“It’s certainly a very promising concept,” said Mark Wallace, state bring inspection manager at TxDOT. “We can use this to tell us how the bridge is responding the truck loads that going over it.”