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Published April 22, 2013, 09:58 AM

Spring means load limits

Farmers and agribusinesses in Stutsman County, N.D., are hoping to see uniformity in road load limits, according to Greg Entzminger, Jamestown farmer and advocate for the load limit changes.

By: Keith Norman, Agweek

JAMESTOWN, N.D. — Farmers and agribusinesses in Stutsman County, N.D., are hoping to see uniformity in road load limits, according to Greg Entzminger, Jamestown farmer and advocate for the load limit changes.

Stutsman County approved changing the load limit rules to a system based on the number of axles on a truck for county roads at its March meeting. With the proper configuration, a truck could have a total gross weight of up to 105,500 pounds. This compares with an 80,000- pound limit previously in place for county roads. The change will go into effect when the spring load limits are removed.

Townships are responsible for setting their own limits, Entzminger says. Unless the townships change the limits to match the county, it leaves many of the rural roads still with the 80,000-pound limit.

“Uniformity is best,” he says. “It allows the (truck) regulatory to go after those that are truly overloaded.”

Stutsman County participates with Barnes, LaMoure and Dickey counties in maintaining a truck regulatory officer. This officer patrols the four-county area, weighing trucks that are suspected of being overloaded.

Entzminger says several southeast Stutsman County townships had already acted or planned to act at the next meeting. He hoped that the other townships would follow the county’s lead.

“Farmers need to be proactive with their township boards,” he says. “Hopefully by fall the county is uniform.”

Casey Bradley, Stutsman County auditor and chief operating officer, says a township has the ultimate authority for the load limits on the roads it maintains.

“We believe they would have to put up signage if the load limits differ from the county,” he says.

Bradley also says the county will have limits on many of the roads it maintains.

“We will have those roads signed as no-haul roads or with weight limits,” he says. “Mostly it is roads that are in bad shape.”

Bridge limits differ

Bridges are another issue. “A road’s capacity and the bridge capacity can be different,” Bradley says. “The worst ones are commonly on township roads.”

Bradley says the county is developing an Internet-based map displaying all township, county and state roads and the appropriate load limits. The project could take several months to finalize and will require the input of all the townships in the county.

Darron Orr, Ypsilanti, N.D., farmer and advocate for the new load limits, says a displayable map that could be pulled up on a Smartphone in the field would help farmers get crops from the field to the elevator without breaking the law.

“Hopefully the county can be as uniform as it can be by the fall,” Orr says. “There is still some personal responsibility to make sure you meet the requirements.”

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