County to weigh in on overweight truck permits and fees

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN

BG Independent News

The Wood County Engineer’s Office would like heavy truck traffic to stay on roads that can handle their loads.

So starting Jan. 1, those overloaded trucks may need to get a permit and pay a fee to the engineer’s office. Those haulers will also be advised to use a route that can handle heavy loads.

“If they haul the right weights, they don’t need permits,” said Wood County Engineer John Musteric. “We just want them to be law abiding citizens.”

And the county commissioners – who have to vote on the permit fees – seemed to agree.

“I think it’s a good step toward preserving our roads and bridges,” said Commissioner Craig LaHote.

Commissioner Doris Herringshaw wanted to ensure that the fees would go toward road repairs, not salaries – which Musteric confirmed.

The goal of the overweight vehicle permit program is to protect county roads and bridges from damage. Overweight vehicles that travel state routes are required to obtain a permit from the Ohio Department of Transportation. These same overweight vehicles that travel state routes legally, then exit onto county and township roads with no permits or regard for the capacity of the roads or bridges.

“This is to protect our assets,” Musteric said. “We’re spending a lot of money to improve these roads and bridges.”

For those trucks suspected to have overweight loads and no permit, the county’s portable scales will be requested by a sheriff’s deputy. An engineer’s office employee will deliver the scales and advise the trucker on a suitable route for their load.

By requiring permits and fees, the engineer’s office can discuss appropriate routes before the overweight loads start crossing county roads.

“If you’re coming through, we need to set the best route. That permit protects them if they stay on that route,” Wood County Administrator Andrew Kalmar said.

But if an overweight truck is found without a permit, or not on the permitted route, fines will be issued.

The county learned a hard lesson from the Rover pipeline construction in the southern part of the county, Musteric said at a previous meeting.

“Rover tore the heck out of the roads,” he said.

Loads exceeding 80,000 pounds will need a permit and fee payment to the county engineer’s office. Heavier loads, equal to or greater than 120,000 pounds, will be considered “superloads,” as defined by ODOT. Those loads may incur additional requirements and greater fees.

“Superloads” will have restricted routes, with the engineering office needing to certify that bridges along the routes can handle the weights.

Applications submitted less than 48 hours in advance of the requested move date will be considered an emergency request, and will be processed as staff time allows.

Some haulers are able to spread the weight of their loads over many axles, which means less damage to roads and bridges.

Since Wood County is expecting a lot of economic development in the next couple years, Musteric told the commissioners he would like to get the permit and fee program in operation.

“We would like to get this in motion,” ideally beginning with the new year, he said.

The county commissioners will likely vote on the proposal next Thursday.

“We know there are a lot of things coming in the next year,” said Shane Johnson, who coordinates the overweight load program in the engineer’s office.

“We’re talking about more and more truck traffic,” Johnson said. “We’re not trying to discourage it. We’re just trying to get a handle on where they should be.”

Businesses pull permits everyday through ODOT for heavy loads, said Jason Sisco, of the engineer’s office. So the county can see who is transporting overweight loads through Wood County, he said.

The county has many load-limited bridges. But as long as haulers stay in compliance with the rules, there should be no problem.

Agricultural trucks will be allowed to reach weights of 86,000 pounds. Unlike some industrial haulers who cannot break down large equipment loads into multiple trips, the county engineer’s office is asking local farmers to only carry as much as the rules allow.

“We’re asking folks to haul lawfully,” or get a permit, Sisco said. “Fill it to the legal limit, then there’s no need for a permit.”

Following is a list of the fees to be charged for overweight/oversize permits:

Single trips:

  • Oversize truck: None.
  • Overweight, up to 120,000 pounds: $50 per truck.
  • Superload, 120,000 pounds and over: $150 per truck.
  • Steel/aluminum coil: $50 per truck.
  • Emergency: $250 per truck.

Continuing (90 days):

  • Overweight, up to 120,000 pounds: $150 per truck.
  • Superload, 120,000 and over: $450 per truck.
  • Steel/aluminum coil: $100 per truck.

Continuing (365 days):

  • Overweight, up to 120,000 pounds: $350 per truck.
  • Superload, 120,000 pounds and over: $1,500 per truck.
  • Steel/aluminum coil: $150 per truck.
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