Lower truck weight limits proposed for Davison CountyThe Davison County commissioners decided Tuesday at the courthouse in Mitchell to propose an 80,000-pound gross vehicle weight limit for trucks on most paved county roads.
By: Ross Dolan, The Daily Republic
The Davison County commissioners decided Tuesday at the courthouse in Mitchell to propose an 80,000-pound gross vehicle weight limit for trucks on most paved county roads.
Gross vehicle weight includes the total weight of a truck and its cargo. The commissioners voted 4-0 to proceed with the drafting of a proposed ordinance. Commissioner Jerry Fischer, who continues his recovery from knee surgery, was absent and did not vote. The ordinance will have to receive first and second readings at future public meetings before it can be enacted.
The first scheduled reading of the ordinance will be 9:30 a.m. Oct. 30; the second and final reading, and vote, will be at 11 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 8.
The action to lower truck weights was made at the recommendation of county Highway Superintendent Rusty Weinberg.
Keeping trucks at 80,000 GVW, Weinberg said, is essential for the preservation of the county’s blacktop roads.
“Our roads are not built for it,” he said. “They built an interstate with 11 inches of concrete and even the interstate doesn’t hold up (under heavy truck traffic).”
The ordinance will make the county more consistent with surrounding counties, which also have 80,000-pound weight limits on paved roads.
The weight restrictions will not apply to the following roads: 247th Street between Highway 37 and the Poet ethanol plant in Loomis; 397th Avenue from Interstate 90 to Mount Vernon; and Highway 16 (254th Street) from 394th to 397th avenues.
Previous efforts to lower truck weight limits brought swift reaction from area truckers and farmers who presented evidence that a loaded truck with multiple tires is less wearing on roads than a heavily laden vehicle with fewer tires.
Weinberg said the practical evidence shows that heavy trucks are hard on roads and the county doesn’t have the cash to fix them.
He told the commissioners that five more county bridges will soon need repair or replacement in addition to five other bridges that are already waiting for funding on the state Department of Transportation list.
The lower load limits were part of a proposed ordinance to lower speeds to 40 mph for all vehicles on Highway 16 (254th Street) between 405th and 408th avenues. The speed reduction portion of the proposed ordinance is designed to lower the speed of heavy trucks through residential sections of Highway 16 in residential areas closer to Mitchell. Commissioner Denny Kiner called the move “a good recommendation and a matter of public safety.”
The speed reduction makes the affected section of Highway 16 more consistent with speeds posted farther north on Cemetery Road (252nd Street), which is another heavily traveled road impacted by truck traffic.
Weinberg said he decided to make his speed limit recommendation after hearing numerous complaints from area residents about trucks traveling at high speeds on Highway 16.
“We patrol it, but we can’t patrol it 24 hours a day,” said Sheriff Dave Miles, who sat in on Tuesday’s meeting. “You’ve got to keep in mind that as soon as we put a marked car out there, traffic slows down.”
Liquor license fees
The commissioners raised the county liquor license price from the current $56,223 — which was set in 2002 and continued in 2010 — to $78,016, or $4 per person based on the 2010 census population of 19,504 county residents.
By law, the fees must be set by Sept. 1, but Deputy State’s Attorney Jim Taylor said a 1980 opinion by the state attorney general says that the failure to set fees by September doesn’t preclude a commission from setting fees at a later date.
Claggett said a higher fee is warranted as an adjustment for inflation. The other commissioners agreed, voting 4-0 to approve the change.
The county has two liquor licenses available for purchase. There were no pending applications for the licenses prior to the commission’s Tuesday action.
In other business, the commissioners:
• Noted that Oct. 22 will be the final day to register to vote in the general election.
• Told Weinberg and Weed Commissioner John Geidel to work with the Weed Board to find a qualified employee who can handle weed spraying half-time and work in the Highway Department the remaining half. Two candidates are being considered, Geidel said.
• Noted the County Planning and Zoning Commission will meet at 1:15 p.m. on Nov. 13 with Brian McGinnis of Planning and Development District III to discuss possible changes to the county comprehensive plan.