Flanders considering increase in HGV weight limit to 48/50 tons

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The Flemish Government is considering increasing the maximum allowed weight limit for HGV combinations to 50 tons to improve the efficiency of transportations and reduce their impact on the environment. However, the weight limit will depend on how the vehicle is fuelled.

Neighbouring countries, like the Netherlands and Wallonia, have already increased the weight limits for a couple of years, and now Flanders has also decided to go this way, reports sectoral organisation Transport and Logistics Netherlands (TLN).

However, the proposal still needs to get through several steps in the legislative system, therefore the commencement date is not yet known.

Different weight limits for differently fuelled vehicles

To make transport more sustainable and greener, there will be a distinction between classically powered vehicles and emission-free (electric) vehicles. For the first category, the maximum weight will be increased to 48 tons. For electric combinations, the maximum weight will be 50 tons.

The plan is also to allow a maximum weight of more than 44 tonnes only for zero-emission vehicles from 2031.

To be eligible for the increased weight limit, vehicles must meet the following conditions:

  • All axles of the trailer/semi-trailer must have air suspension (or equivalent suspension)
  • Minimum axle distance of 1.30 meters
  • Increase does not apply to center axle trailers
  • Motor vehicle must have Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)
  • Combination must meet the bridge formula to spread weight as much as possible. This means that there must be a certain axle distance between the front and rear axle. As a rule, short, heavy bulk trailers will not be able to meet this requirement
  • Zero-emission vehicles (max. 50 tons) may not be older than 8 years (date of first admission)
  • Non-emission-free vehicles (max. 48 tonnes) may not be older than 4 years (date of first admission)
  • The driver must maintain a minimum distance of 15 meters on structures from vehicles in front that is heavier than 3.5 tonnes. This distance must also be respected in a traffic jam

Pilot project for longer heavier vehicles

The upcoming weight increase in Flanders is separate from the pilot project with longer heavier vehicles (LHVs). These combinations may be up to 25.25 meters long and a maximum of 60 tons.

LHVs require an exemption and are only allowed to drive on certain approved routes. That will remain the case” – TLN explains.

Photo credit @ Flickr / WeissenbachPR CC BY-SA 2.0