CLARENDON — After a bad mud season and public comments about big trucks on the roads, the Select Board is considering bringing back road weight limits.
At its regular Monday meeting, the board voted unanimously to hold working sessions in June to update its road ordinances and to develop an effective system for issuing weight permits.
After Selectman and Road Commissioner Cash Ruane gave a brief update on what the highway crew has been doing, and plans to do, Lynn Tucker, of East Tinmouth Road road, asked why the town no longer posts weight limits on roads. She said she’s seen a certain large logging truck driving several times per day over muddy roads, causing damage. She suggested the town come up with a permitting system to either prevent or pay for the damage done.
Board Chairman Mike Klopchin said he believes the town stopped posting roads in 2014.
“We were advised back then by the town attorney and (Vermont League of Cities and Towns) that whatever our situation was, whatever our ordinances were, and maybe (Rutland County Sheriff Stephen Benard) would know this, there was no enforcement, and there was something that was not built into (our ordinances), and that’s when we were advised you might as well just stop altogether …,” said Selectman Robert Congdon Jr.
Selectman Bob Bixby said he recalls the town attorney saying it would cost the town more to manage the permitting system than it would generate in revenue.
“I’ll give Cash props, because we’ve had the worst mud season we’ve had in probably 10 to 15 years, I understand that, but at the same time, if we’re going to go back to a pattern of having them like this, I think we need to revisit it,” said Congdon. He said the old fees, which were between $5 and $10 per permit, didn’t cover the cost of processing them.
Benard said in some towns they restrict the hours large trucks can drive on certain roads, as less damage is done when they’re frozen. Some towns see their costs returned in the form of fines, which can be several thousand dollars. He said Rutland County now has better access to Department of Motor Vehicles equipment, after Congdon said an issue in 2014 was who would actually weigh the trucks.
Congdon said he’s witnessed the damage large enough trucks can do to the roads. He said he believes there are some repeat offenders, but even so there needs to be a legal system for dealing with in place.
“We need to get our ordinances in line and get them fixed so that we are legal and we are ready to roll … ,” said Congdon, adding that the Vermont League of Cities and Towns should also be contacted.
Ruane said he would also speak to Agency of Transportation officials.