The permitting process will get faster and more convenient next month for Michigan’s Lenawee County Road Commission staff and trucking firms.
The road commission will start using the online Oxcart Permit Systems to issue permits to trucking companies that transport oversize or overweight loads through or within the county or are operating over roads with seasonal weight restrictions.
“It will be easier for both ourselves and transportation providers to get permits and access permits online, especially if they’re moving county to county,” road commission Managing Director Scott Merillat said. “So there’s a push statewide for standardization, so everybody uses the same permit forms, everybody uses the same everything.”
The Oxcart system will allow trucking firms to go online to enter information about their vehicle, their load and routes they plan to take. This information automatically is sent to the road commission, where staff can receive it on a computer or cellphones and can approve, modify or define permits.
Once a permit is approved, the transporter receives it electronically and pays for it online. The road commission will receive a monthly check for the permits the system collects for the county.
Currently, transportation permits are done manually, requiring the carriers to call or come in person to the road commission office and provide information about their hauls individually to staff, as well as provide payment. The new system will eliminate the paperwork and make it easier on haulers to apply and receive permits from anywhere.
“It allows us to issue permits quicker,” Merillat said. “Some permits may still take a day to do, some permits maybe hours, some maybe minutes if we get it and it comes to your phone.”
Merillat briefed road commission members June 21 about the transition, telling them that six counties in Michigan, including Washtenaw County, have moved to the Oxcart system successfully after piloting the system last year.
“Talking to the other counties, their experience with it, initially … people aren’t real happy about it because you have to get a username and a password and then you have to fill out basically all your truck information, what you’re hauling and all that. But then all that’s saved,” Merillat said. “So the first one you get complaints, by the fourth one, everybody likes it. You pull up the system and all your stuff is already in it. So your truck information is already there, you’re just changing the route.”
The system is especially beneficial for transporters hauling among counties. When going into counties that also use the Oxcart system, the information saved on the hauler’s profile is recalled and seamlessly transferred for permitting to the next county on its route.
The cost of the software to the road commission will be paid through a small additional processing fee for each permit.
Merillat said there is no exact date when the commission will switch to the system, estimating it to be sometime in mid-August.