Supervisors oppose state road weight increase

Putting increases in the amount of weight carried by trucks into the hands of the state was not a popular idea with the Washington County Board of Supervisors.

During its regular meeting Tuesday, the Supervisors unanimously voted to oppose a Senate File 184 which would increase the amount of weight the logging industry is allowed to haul on Iowa roads from 80,000 pounds to 130,000 pounds. If the bill is approved, the state Department of Transportation would issue the permits for the trucks with no input from counties. Reports are if the bill is passed into a law, there are many other industries that would be petitioning for the same weight increase.

“Our road structure could not hold up to that for any length of time,” supervisor Bob Yoder said. “It would just destroy it and we the county would be left holding the bag, and a very expensive bag at that.”

Supervisor Richard Young agreed if a 130,000 pound truck went over a bridge and destroyed it, the county would have to pay for repairs. Supervisor Abe Miller also said if the truck weakened the bridge and it collapsed with other traffic on it, the county could also be liable for any injury. Yoder said he had done repairs on a bridge in Riverside which cost about $3 million.

“If you think of how bad gravel roads are now, if you put a 130,000 pound truck on those gravel roads, there will be ruts how deep,” Young said. “That is a lot of weight to put on a road that was never built for that.”

With over 100 bridges in the county, the supervisors also determined that constantly having to inspect them for damages would cost a large amount of money.

Copies of the bill the supervisors approved will be sent to area representatives Joe Mitchell and Jarad Klein and senators Rich Taylor and Kevin Kinney.