FMCSA updates National Hazardous Materials Route Registry

July 16, 2014

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a new National Hazardous Materials Route Registry (Route Registry) on July 14 covering routes where states have restricted all or some classes of hazardous materials, highway-route controlled quantities of radioactive materials (HRCQ), or Class 7 radioactive materials (RAM). The update was published in the July 14 issue of the Federal Register.

The Route Registry covers both mandatory assigned routes for hazmat shipments and routes where hazardous materials are restricted (unless the route must be used to access a loading or unloading point). The Route Registry applies to placarded loads only. FMCSA will be accepting comments on the updated Route Registry through September 12, 2014. FMCSA’s Route Registry is current through January 31, 2014.

However, the most recent highway authorization, MAP-21, changed the rules for when states designate or change a route for non-radioactive hazardous materials. The new rules require states to communicate their changes to FMCSA, which must then publish them in the Federal Register. The changed routes then take effect 60 days later.

In December 2013, FMCSA re-noticed its pre-MAP-21 route registration process without making the route publication changes required by MAP-21. Until FMCSA updates its publication process, state non-radioactive route designations are essentially fixed. States can continue to make changes to HRCQ and RAM routes.

The new Route Registry makes several changes that will help carriers in their route planning. First, all routes are now listed state-by-state rather than by listing all RAM routes, then all HRCQ routes, and all hazardous materials restriction routes separately. FMCSA has also developed a new routing order that should simply route planning as well.

Fourteen states (Connecticut, Hawaii, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, Vermont, and Wisconsin) have not designated any required or prohibited hazmat routes.

Five jurisdictions have unresolved routes left on the Route Registry: Alaska, California, Colorado, Texas, and the District of Columbia. FMCSA is particularly interested in comments that help determine the status of these unresolved routes. Additionally, the Route Registry does not cover routes subject to direct federal supervision, except for National Parks Service lands in Montana and South Dakota.

FMCSA has requested comments on the new Route Registry, and American Trucking Associations (ATA) officials say they plan on responding to the agency’s request. ATA supports FMCSA’s new route ordering approach, the streamlined route tables, and the consolidation of route information. ATA’s comments will also reiterate our concerns that FMCSA must update its route designation/change process before any changes to the current Route Registry can be implemented.

ATA also seeks information about the unresolved routes in AK, CA, CO, TX, and DC. Alaska’s unresolved routes are listed on page 40855 of the July 14 Federal Register. California’s unresolved routes are listed on pages 40857-40870. Colorado’s unresolved route is listed on page 40871. Texas’ unresolved routes are listed on pages 40902-40903. Finally, DC’s unresolved routes are listed on page 40874.