The state Department of Transportation is increasing the maximum vehicle weight for the 7,042 miles in West Virginia's federal, state and county road systems to 80,000 pounds by March 1.

"We should have a list out by the end of the month," Transportation Secretary Fred VanKirk on Wednesday told the Senate Committee on Energy, Industry and Mining.

The increase will give some relief to timber, stone and other heavy haulers on the state highways.

Starting in 2003 the "Coal Resource Transportation System," which covers 15 counties, coal and other trucks can weigh up to 120,000 pounds.

When lawmakers passed the 2003 increase for coal trucks, they did not include a provision raising road weight limits statewide to 80,000 pounds on other highways. Transportation secretary Fred VanKirk, said his department performed that review anyway.

West Virginia road systems now have various weight limits, but none outside the heavy-haul road network exceed 80,000 pounds.

VanKirk said the state is examining the bridges on these roads and will post those that cannot handle 80,000 pounds.

VanKirk said last year it could cost a billion dollars to bring the highways and bridges up to standard to handle the increased weights.