The first virtual weigh station in Arkansas will become a reality on Highway 64 near Alma in mid-2017.
Highway 64 has been a known route that interstate truck drivers take to bypass the weight station on Interstate 40 in Alma, said Major Jay Thompson of Arkansas Highway Patrol.
The virtual weigh station will check the weight of semitrailers without the big rigs having to stop. Weight alone from the scale won’t be used to enforce the law, Thompson said. Police will perform checks with portable scales before determining violations.
Thompson sees the virtual weigh station as a win-win: Not only will it save time for truckers who are not overweight by not having to stop, but it will also save police time by not having to pull over trucks that aren’t overweight.
The Arkansas Trucking Association backed efforts to help highway police ensure “roads are safe from overweight or unsecured loads,” according to Transport Topics. And the American Trucking Association supported the move to use virtual weigh stations as a way for carriers to save time and “reduce the number of bad actors in our industry, improving roadway safety and lowering highway maintenance costs.”
Township Builders Inc. of Little Rock will complete the more than $900,000 project to install the weigh-in-motion scale.
A grant from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will pay for the project.
For now, the virtual weigh station near Alma will be the only one of its kind in the state. “We’re going to try this out and see how it works,” said Danny Straessle, spokesman for the highway department.