Thursday, May 8, 2008
County protects roads
By SUE WATSON
The Marshall County Board of Supervisors Monday approved a resolution and ordinance that fixes the maximum weight loads to be hauled over county roads and bridges.
The measure requires rock and gravel miners and logging operators to obtain a permit before beginning on-site work and to consult with their district supervisor to arrange a suitable route for moving loads out of work areas. Haulers may be required to post bonds to cover possible damage to roads.
The county engineer and road manager are given authority under the ordinance to restrict load limits when roads are weakened by weather and to close roads under construction and repair.
Weight limits will be posted by the county after weight limits are designated for specific roads.
The ordinance establishes procedures for obtaining harvest permits to haul sand, gravel, dirt, and agricultural or forestry products over public roads and bridges in Marshall County and the posting of security bonds necessary for any damage that may result to the county roads.
The board of supervisors authorized the ordinance after several supervisors have received complaints from residents that roads were being damaged by haulers, particularly roads covered in rock and tar. These roads are not built to handle intensive traffic from work sites, supervisors said. But the roads are the only connector to state-maintained roads in the county which are able to withstand heavy truck traffic up to 84,000 pound limits.
Requiring haulers to post bonds to pay for damage they do on county roads is not something new, according to supervisor Keith Taylor, who has received many citizen complaints regarding road damages in his district.
“I was talking to a gravel miner in another county and that county requires him to put a bond on the road to fix it,” Taylor said.
The ordinance was not designed to hinder farm-to-market hauling for agricultural products, Taylor said. Farmers’ rights are protected by state law for the passage of farm machinery and crops to market.
“The ordinance is not designed to hurt anyone,” Taylor said. “However, I do not think it is fair for taxpayers to foot the bill for damages to roads. I support the people who cut the timber. The farmers coming in and out of fields do not damage the roads. I think there is a difference.
“We’ve had instances where we’ve paved a road and two weeks later loggers come in in their trucks and tear up the road. The ordinance is to assure that haulers follow the procedures and limits.
“The main thing this is designed for is to pick the route for the commercial business operator where lots of loads are brought out of the field.”
The ordinance, in brief, sets the weight limits as follows, but readers should consult the legal section of this paper for the complete ordinance and their supervisor for guidance:
• single axle vehicles, gross weight shall not exceed 23,040 pounds.
• tandem axle vehicles, gross weight not to exceed 33,120 pounds.
• three axles with a distance of 28 feet between the two axles of greatest distance from each other shall not exceed 57,600 pounds.
• any vehicle, the gross weight shall not exceed 57,600 pounds.
Supervisors, the engineer and road manager are authorized to determine when a road or bridge has been weakened by weather conditions or emergency conditions or extreme conditions and can restrict all traffic but residential traffic, school buses, mail deliverers and emergency vehicles, to prevent damage to roads.
Haulers are required to give the district supervisor 48 hours notice before beginning hauling. A permit will be good for 60 days.
The permit holder shall be responsible civilly for damages to county roads and bridges or damages and injuries to persons or property arising from operations of the permitted vehicle over county roads and bridges.
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