October 20 - The Northwest Seaport Alliance has applauded the Seattle City Council's approval of a heavy haul network that it believes will make the ports of Seattle and Tacoma more competitive.

The heavy haul corridor will raise the truck weight limit on designated roads near port facilities, eliminate citations for overweight loads and provide a framework to repair and build roads within the network, explained the Northwest Seaport Alliance, which was recently launched.

The agreement also calls for semi-annual safety inspections of heavy haulage trucks; and aligns weight regulations with the state and other municipalities across the country.

As well as making the gateway more competitive, Port of Seattle co-president Courtney Gregoire said that the heavy haul network will also improve the livelihood of truck drivers.

"Seattle's heavy haul network, like others in Los Angeles, Long Beach and Tacoma, will allow freight to move more safely and efficiently through our North Harbor," she added.

Seattle mayor Ed Murray also praised the Seattle City Council for passing legislation on the establishment of the heavy haul network, stating that the new development will support thousands of trade-dependent jobs and businesses in the city. 

According to the Seattle mayoral office, the Port of Seattle is contributing USD250,000 towards start-up and implementation costs for 2016 and 2017. To offset the anticipated impacts of allowing heavier trucks, the port will contribute between USD10 million and USD20 million over the next 20 years towards roadway repair and reconstruction within the network.

Commercial drivers will be required to purchase a USD200 annual permit for transporting loads up to 98,000 lb (44 tonnes), and the fees collected from the permits will be used to administer the programme.

A map of the proposed routes can be found here.