Frost heaving on the roads

Frost heaving is a recurring problem on gravel roads in spring and, to a lesser extent, in autumn.

Weight restrictions

Weight restrictions have to be imposed on part of the road network affected by frost heaving. This avoids excessive damage to the roads due to heavy traffic and ensures viability for necessary transport.

The 12-ton weight restriction is the most common, but, in exceptional cases, the 4-ton restriction may also be applied. The weight restrictions are not applicable to transport that is considered vital.

A forecast of potential weight restrictions is issued around year end. The forecast will be specified in detail at the beginning of March when the prognosis on the severity of frost heaving is completed. Spring weather conditions are monitored actively, and information on the development of the frost heaving situation and any requirement for the imposition of weight restrictions will be disseminated regularly.

Exceptional permits 

In single, unforeseeable cases, the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres) may, for a charge, grant a temporary transport permit for a weight-restricted road. The handling permit considers the necessity of the freight and its gross volume. The permit is granted by the region's ELY Centre. The handling process takes a few working days. The charge for the permit is EUR 89.

Example list of transport requiring an exceptional permit:

  • Timber
  • Soil
  • Fuel (except where warehousing spaces do not allow expected potential freight)
  • Industrial fertilisers
  • Construction supplies
  • Forestry and construction machines
  • Special freight


Weight restrictions due to frost heaving

Be prepared for potential weight restrictions due to frost heaving. Purchase all required supplies before the frost-breaking period. For example, construction supplies should be purchased in winter. Otherwise, deliveries may be delayed until late springtime.
Road damage through frost heaving can include frost boils, potholes, ruts, or hollows. New frost damage may arise daily, so all travel requires caution.

Page updated 29.10.2015