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Wisconsin farmers face new bridge restrictions

LA CROSSE, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin farmers and truckers are being forced to take long detours and haul half-filled loads to get their products to market as new weight restrictions take effect for nearly 200 bridges.

The La Crosse Tribune reports that the restrictions have been placed primarily on rural roads in the western part of the state. Highway engineers are trying to reduce the strain from newer trucks that use tightly-spaced axles to carry more weight in a smaller frame.

State Department of Transportation officials have been re-evaluating more than 2,000 bridges over the past several years in order to meet a Federal Highway Administration deadline set for 2018. The priority is short-span bridges with timber- and steel-frame designs.

Transportation officials have also recommended lifting restrictions on nearly 350 bridges that were stronger than previously thought.

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